There are several different kinds of kidney cancer, but by far the most common is Renal Cell Cancer (RCC). Wilm's Tumor (a childhood cancer) or Transitional Cell Carcinoma of the Renal Pelvis are other more rare types.
Early diagnosis of kidney cancer is important. As with most types of cancer, the earlier the tumor is discovered, the better a patient's chances for survival. Tumors discovered at an early stage often respond well to treatment. Survival rates in such cases are high. Tumors that have grown large or spread through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to other parts of the body are more difficult to treat and present an increased risk for mortality.
According to the National Cancer Institute, the highest incidence of kidney cancer occurs in the United States, Canada, Northern Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The lowest incidence is found in Thailand, China, and the Philippines.
In the United States, kidney cancer accounts for approximately 3% of all adult cancers. Kidney cancer occurs most often in people between the ages of 50 and 70, and affects men almost twice as often as women.
Once a diagnosis of renal cell cancer has been confirmed and the disease's stage determined, physician and patient decide on a treatment plan. It is important that the patient and physician make an informed decision together after considering all possible options, side effects, and outcomes. A confident, positive outlook can help with the physical demands of surgery and/or therapy and can improve the chances for recovery.
A second opinion can provide additional information in the decision-making process. Some insurance companies require a second opinion before they approve payment for treatment.
Treatment options include the following:
* Radiation therapy
* Hormone therapy
* Biological or Immunotherapy
Two or more forms of treatment may be used in combination, such as surgery to remove a primary tumor followed by radiation treatment or chemotherapy to kill cancer cells that may remain in the body.