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Conditions & Diseases: Cancers

Kidney Cancer

See Also:
Kidney Cancer Introduction, Types & Pictures
Renal Cell Carcinoma Overview and Types
Renal Cell Carcinoma Causes and Risk Factors
Renal Cell Carcinoma Symptoms
Renal Cell Carcinoma Stages
Renal Cell Carcinoma Medical Tests and Diagnosis
Renal Cell Carcinoma Treatment
Related: Wilms' Tumor

Kidney Cancer Introduction & Types

Kidney cancer is a form of cancer that develops within the kidney tissue. Normally, the kidneys’ cells grow and divide in a regulated manner (only a specific number of cells are produced in order to keep the kidneys healthy and functioning properly). When this process is impaired, the kidneys’ cells grow and divide uncontrollably and in an exaggerated fashion, causing tumors to form.

There are two types of tumors: benign (the term refers to a non-cancerous mass or growth which is not life threatening) and malignant (the term refers to a cancerous mass or growth which can invade and destroy the adjacent tissues and organs inside the body causing death).

Like most other types of cancer, kidney cancer starts as a small growth or mass which grows larger over time. However, kidney cancer can occur differently: (1) as a single mass within one kidney, (2) as multiple tumors within one kidney, or (3) as tumors in both kidneys.

However, in most cases the cancer is diagnosed in early stages when the tumors have not invaded other organs or the cancerous cells have not enter the bloodstream.

The kidneys are two pair-shaped organs about the size of a fist located in the posterior part of the abdominal cavity behind peritoneum, on each side of the spine. The left kidney is just below the liver, while the right one sits below the diaphragm and near the spleen. Each kidney together with the adrenal gland (which sits atop each kidney) is covered by a mass of fatty tissue and an outer layer of fibrous tissue. The kidneys receive 20 to 25 percent of the total arterial blood pumped by the heart.

 

The kidneys perform three vital functions for the body.

1. Excretes waste products after metabolism.
Kidneys filter the blood and remove waste products from the body as urine. The urine collects in the renal pelvis (which is the hollow space inside each kidney) and passes further into the urine bladder through the ureters (long, thin tubes that connects the renal pelvis to the bladder).

2. Homeostasis.
Kidneys regulate the pH (the acidity of the blood plasma) and water composition in the blood, and maintain a normal blood pressure.

3. Hormone secretion
Kidneys secret several hormones such as erythropoietin (a glycoprotein that stimulates the production of red blood cells), urodilatin (natriuretic peptide with cardiovascular, renal, endocrine, and pulmonary effects), renin (a proteolytic enzyme that affects blood pressure), as well as vitamin D.

Kidney Cancer Types

I. Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC)

II. Wilms’ Tumor

III. Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) is a less common type of cancer that develops in the renal pelvis (the draining tubes that exit the kideny). It accounts for 6 to 7 percent of all kindey tumors. This cancer looks different than renal cell carcinoma when examined under microscope and is more similar to bladder cancer. Usually, transitional cell carcinoma is treated as bladder cancer.

IV. Renal sarcoma is a rare type of kidney cancer which develops in the kidney’s connective tissues. It accounts for less than 1 percent of all kidney tumors. Its symptoms are similar with renal cell carcinoma, and can be properly diagnosed only after performing several tests (such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, and biopsy).

See Also:
Kidney Cancer Introduction, Types & Pictures
Renal Cell Carcinoma Overview and Types
Renal Cell Carcinoma Causes and Risk Factors
Renal Cell Carcinoma Symptoms
Renal Cell Carcinoma Stages
Renal Cell Carcinoma Medical Tests and Diagnosis
Renal Cell Carcinoma Treatment
Related: Wilms' Tumor

Article by Alina Morrow, MS
Medical Writer
OmniMedicalSearch.com

Page Covers: What is kidney cancer?

 

Location of Human Kidneys

Human kidneys in relation to whole body.

Cross-view image of human kidney.

Illustration of tumor in kidney.

cancer tumor : el cáncer de tumor : tumor de câncer : tumor de câncer : cancro tumore : cancer tumoare : tumeur cancéreuse : tumeur cancéreuse : kanser bukol : cancertumör

Artist rendering of a nonspecific tumor.

cancer tumor : el cáncer de tumor : tumor de câncer : tumor de câncer : cancro tumore : cancer tumoare : tumeur cancéreuse : tumeur cancéreuse : kanser bukol : cancertumör

Artist rendering of a nonspecific tumor.

Cancer Cell : las células cancerosas : células cancerosas : komórek nowotworowych : komórek nowotworowyc : cellule tumorali : celulele canceroase : les cellules cancéreuse : kanser cells : kankercellen : cancerceller

Three rendered Illustrations of how cancer cells appear. The lower right is an actual cancer cell under high-scale magnification.

Kidney Cancer Pictures from our Medical Image Search Engine

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OmniMedicalSearch does not provide medical advice and the Medical Conditions & Diseases section is for informational purposes only. Please see our Medical Disclaimer and always consult with your physician.

 

Page Last Modified:
07/28/2010