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Renal Cell Carcinoma - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Sajjan Rajpurohit 85% (40 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Oncology, DNB - Super Speciality, Immuno Oncology
Oncologist, Delhi  •  17 years experience
Renal Cell Carcinoma - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer and accounts for 90 percent of all kidney cancers. Young children can develop another kind of kidney cancer termed as Wilms’ tumour. According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), 20qw revealed that renal cell carcinoma has increased manifold over the past decade. The primary reason is the improvement of imaging techniques and the lack of healthy lifestyle practices by most adults.

Possible Causes of Renal Cell Carcinoma
There is still no conclusive evidence reported by any scientist about the exact cause of renal cell carcinoma. What doctors do know is the fact the introduction of renal cell carcinoma triggers when few cells of the kidney acquire a mutation in the DNA of a person. Mutation communicates the cell to divide and grow uncontrollably. This leads to an accumulation of cells that eventually forms one or multiple tumours and grows beyond the kidney.

Risk Factors For Renal Cell Carcinoma
Some of the common risk factors for renal cell carcinoma include the following:

  1. Old age
  2. Persistent smoking
  3. Exposure to substances such as herbicide, cadmium etc.
  4. A family history of renal carcinoma
  5. Hypertension
  6. Inherited syndrome such as Hippel-Lindau disease, tuberous sclerosis complex, Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome etc.
  7. Obesity
  8. An existing case of kidney failure

Typical Symptoms of Renal Cell Carcinoma
Renal cell carcinoma is hard to detect in its early stages. There is no routine test either that can readily diagnose this condition. However, certain symptoms such as blood in urine, fatigue, sudden loss of appetite, fluctuation of fever, pain in the shoulder or back area, sudden weight loss etc. can indicate renal cell carcinoma.

Feasible Treatment Options for Renal Cell Carcinoma
Most renal cell carcinoma is treated with surgery. There are several types of surgeries, and depending on the stage and spread of cancer, one of the types is opted for.

  1. Nephrectomy- This is a type of surgery that involves removing the entire kidney, some healthy tissues at the border, and other tissues such as adrenal gland, lymph nodes etc. The surgeon might perform an open or laparoscopic nephrectomy.
  2. Partial nephrectomy– Under this type of surgery, the surgeon removes a tumour and a part of the healthy tissue from the border of the kidney. This form of surgery can be done via a robotic, laparoscopic or open procedure.
  3. Cryoablation- This is a non-surgical method of treating renal cell carcinoma. Here, a needle is inserted into the kidney using image guidance, ultrasound, and cold gas. It freezes the cancer cells and limits their growth.

Apart from these, some other methods to counter advanced or recurring kidney cancer include targeted therapy, radiation therapy, biological therapy, partial surgery of the kidney, clinical trials etc.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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