Types of Kidney Cancer
Renal cell carcinoma:
- about 90% of all kidney cancers
- develops in the nephrons of the kidney
- usually only one kidney is affected
- in rare cases it may develop in both kidneys.
Transitional cell carcinoma:
- a less common type of kidney cancer
- begins at the point where the kidney joins the tube that connects to the bladder (the ureter).
Rarer types of kidney cancer:
- renal sarcoma - type of cancer that affects the connective tissue of the kidney
- Wilms' tumour - type of cancer more common in children than adults.
In the early stages, primary kidney cancer forms a tumour that is confined to the kidney. However, as the cancer grows, it may spread (metastasise) to other parts of the body.
Kidney cancer may be a secondary cancer which has spread from a primary cancer in another part of the body.
Surgery is the main treatment for people with kidney cancer, although it is not possible for all patients. There are two main types of surgery for renal cell carcinoma.
A radical nephrectomy
- removal of the affected kidney
- the adrenal gland above the kidney, surrounding fatty tissue and nearby lymph nodes may also be removed
- it is not always possible to remove all the cancerous tissue.
A partial nephrectomy
- removal of part of the kidney
- may be the best choice for people who have a small tumour in one kidney (less than 4 cm).
- used for people with cancer in both kidneys or only one working kidney.
Kidney surgery is usually carried out under a general anaesthetic. The surgeon will remove as much of the cancer as possible through a cut in the side of your abdomen.
You may be able to have keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) through several small incisions.