Renal Cell Carcinoma

Also known as: RCC, renal cell cancer, renal cancer, kidney cancer

What is renal cell carcinoma?

The renal cells are the cells of the kidneys, and renal cell carcinoma is the most common form of kidney cancer. This type of kidney cancer forms in the tubes that direct fluid in and out of the kidneys, which are known as tubules.

What causes renal cell carcinoma?

Like most forms of cancer, renal cell carcinomas develop due to changes in a cell’s DNA. What specifically causes these changes to occur isn’t clear. Many risk factors can increase your chances of developing renal cell carcinoma, such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, underlying illnesses, family history and more.

What are the symptoms of renal cell carcinoma?

Early on, renal cell carcinoma doesn’t cause any symptoms. Over time, they can lead to symptoms such as a lump in the lower abdominal area, pain in that area, fever, unexplained weight loss, night sweats or blood in the urine.

How can renal cell carcinoma affect children?

Renal cell carcinoma accounts for around 5% of kidney cancers in children and is the second most common type of pediatric kidney cancer. Less than 100 kids are diagnosed with the disease every year in the U.S.

What are renal cell carcinoma treatments?

Surgery is a common treatment for renal cell carcinoma. This may involve removing just the affected portion of the kidney (partial nephrectomy) or the entire kidney (radical nephrectomy). People usually only need one of their two kidneys. If a patient cannot have surgery, cryotherapy or radiofrequency ablation are two other treatments used to treat the cancer. Immunotherapy and targeted therapy are also sometimes used to treat certain types of renal cell carcinoma.

Reviewed by: Maggie Fader, MD

This page was last updated on: November 02, 2023 10:25 AM