Renal Cell Carcinoma

General Illness Information

Medical Term: Hypernephroma

Common Name: Renal cell carcinoma, kidney cancer

Description: Renal carcinoma is a malignant formation formed in one or both kidneys.

Causes: Science can not reliably state the reasons that lead to this disease, but it accurately determines the factors contributing to its development:

  • Excess body weight;
  • Smoking (the risk is increased by 50%);
  • High blood pressure;
  • Harmful working conditions (work with chemicals);
  • Polycystic kidney disease;
  • Diabetes mellitus;
  • Viral infections;
  • Prolonged hemodialysis of the kidney;
  • Genetic predisposition, rare diseases (von Hippel-Lindau syndrome).

Signs & Symptoms:

Currently, about 50% of all kidney tumors are diagnosed accidentally, with a planned ultrasound in the total absence of any symptoms.

The characteristic symptoms of the disease are now less common:

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria). Its appearance can be sudden and profuse;
  • Pain in the back and waist: these complaints are associated with the germination of the tumor into neighboring organs or a blockage of the ureter;
  • Condensation in the abdomen (palpation feels a swelling);
  • Increased temperature and blood pressure (the latter can be caused by squeezing arteries or producing a tumor of renin);
  • Varicocele;
  • Weight loss, general weakness, anemia, night sweats and excessive fatigue.


Diagnosis of kidney cancer involves a whole complex of various manipulations, which allows you to establish the correct diagnosis with maximum accuracy.

  • The most accessible method of diagnosis is ultrasound;
  • A gold standard for the diagnosis of kidney tumors is computed tomography with contrast. Computed tomography gives a complete picture of the tumor’s location, its size, clinical stage and tumor germination into adjacent organs;
  • The analysis of urine reveals the presence of an admixture of blood in the urine;
  • The analysis of blood can reveal indirect signs of the disease: anemia, elevated levels of alkaline phosphatase, urea in the blood, etc;
  • MRI for the diagnosis of kidney tumors is used less often than CT, the main indication for MRI is a contraindication to CT;
  • A biopsy of kidney tumors is performed to confirm the diagnosis and determine the further treatment tactics. Unfortunately, in a number of cases, a kidney tumor biopsy is non-infarctive, for this reason, this study is now rarely performed;
  • Chest radiographs and osteoscintigraphy are used to determine the metastases in the legs and bones of the skeleton;
  • Renal angiography – X-ray examination with contrast agent.

Basing on the symptoms of kidney cancer, the patient’s condition and the results of preliminary tests, the doctor chooses one or another method for diagnosing renal cell carcinoma to form the most objective image.


The treatment of renal cell carcinoma is based on several common methods used alone or in a complex manner. The attending physician, based on the type of tumor, the clinical stage of the age and the patient’s well-being, the available contraindications and other factors, may choose various methods of treatment.

The most effective way to treat renal cell carcinoma is surgical removal of the tumor. Radical nephrectomy is the complete removal of the affected kidney, usually along with the surrounding paranephric fiber, lymph nodes and sometimes the adrenal gland. If the tumor size does not exceed 7 cm, partial resection of the kidney is performed. There is also a laparoscopic method. In this case, the tumor is removed or resected with special instruments inserted into the abdominal cavity through small incisions (2 cm). The laparoscopic method is associated with a lower incidence of complications. In addition, the patient’s recovery occurs faster.

An alternative method of treating kidney tumors is cryoablation. The essence of the method is to freeze the tumor with the help of special cryoprobes inserted into the tumor. The tumor is subjected to alternating freezing and thawing, which eventually leads to the death of cancer cells. This method is the least traumatic for the patient and is indicated when surgery is impossible, for tumors of both kidneys and tumors of a single kidney.

Drug therapy (chemotherapy, hormone therapy or immunotherapy) is prescribed if the kidney cancer is diagnosed (stage 4), when surgical intervention is impossible.


A patient with renal cell carcinoma should eat properly. Doctors strongly recommend patients to adhere to dietary nutrition.

It is necessary to exclude the following products from the diet:

  • Smoked products;
  • marinades and pickles;
  • carbonated drinks;
  • coffee and strong tea;
  • confectionery, especially with cream;
  • fish and meat canned food;
  • beans, peas, chick peas and other kinds of beans;
  • meat and fish broth;
  • sausages and sausages;
  • fat and fatty meat, etc.

A patient with kidney cancer should refuse alcohol and alcohol-containing beverages.

A daily diet of a patient with a malignant tumor should include the following foods:

  • cereals;
  • dairy and sour-milk products;
  • chicken and quail eggs;
  • sprouted grasses;
  • plant food;
  • fruit, etc.

In limited quantities, the following foods are allowed:

  • lean meat (boiled);
  • lean fish (boiled);
  • butter;
  • cream;
  • salt and spices, etc.

A daily diet of a patient (consisting of 4-6 meals) should not exceed 3 kg. The amount of liquid to be drunk per day must be reduced to 1 liter, so as not to give a big load to the kidneys.

Possible Complications:

The most frequent and most dangerous complication of renal cell carcinoma is the formation of secondary foci. Metastases, detected in almost every fourth patient, spread with blood or lymph flow. Even after a radical surgery (removal of the affected organ), metastases are later detected in 30% of cases.

The clinical signs of metastasis depend on the body metastases penetrated. Characteristic symptoms of secondary foci in the lungs is a cough (not associated with colds, ARVI, etc.) and hemoptysis. When metastasizing in the brain, intense headaches and neuralgia develop. Secondary foci in the liver are characterized by such manifestations as a bitter taste in the mouth, pain in the right upper quadrant, icteric sclera and skin. Metastases in the bones are accompanied by pain and fractures. Secondary tumor foci in the bones are revealed during fluoroscopy, and sometimes – with palpation.


The main preventative measured include:

  • Dive up smoking;
  • Reduce body weight;
  • Have a balanced nutrition (more vegetables and fruits in the diet);
  • Treat benign neoplasms of the kidney timely (adenoma of the kidney, leiomyoma, angiomyolipoma);
  • Improve the protective functions of the body.


Not specified.

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