The kidneys are paired, bean-shaped, blood filtering organs, which sits on either side of the backbone and are attached to the upper back wall of the abdomen. A kidney in healthy adult measures 10 to 12 cm in length, 5 to 7 cm in width, and 3 cm in thickness and has a mass of approximately 135 to 150 grams. The kidney is made up of small functional units known as nephrons, which constitute the medulla and cortex of the kidney.
Three layers surround the kidney: an innermost renal capsule made up of dense irregular connective tissue, a middle adipose layer made up of fatty tissue, and an outermost renal fascia (also known as Gerota’s fascia) made up of dense irregular connective tissue. Adrenal glands are two small glands which are present on top of each kidney.
The main functions of the kidneys include excretion of waste material by filtration of blood, maintenance of blood pressure, and production of hormones – renin (that helps in maintaining blood pressure), calcitriol (that helps in maintaining bone density) and erythropoietin (that stimulate the production of red blood cells in bone marrow).
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most commonly encountered (90% of the cases) kidney cancer. RCCs are further divided into following subtypes based on their histology (appearance under a microscope): clear cell RCC, papillary RCC, chromophobe RCC, multilocular cystic RCC, collecting duct RCC, medullary carcinoma, mucinous tubular and spindle cell carcinoma, neuroblastoma-associated RCC, and unclassified lesions.
Kidney Cancer Infographics
Most common risk factors for kidney cancer are smoking, being overweight or obese, overuse of pain killers, kidney failure/dialysis or transplant patients, industrial or occupational exposure, family history, genetic factors, etc.
Kidney cancer most commonly presents with blood in urine, abdominal mass or pain, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, etc.
Biopsy helps in confirmation of diagnosis, whereas, imaging tests (CT/MRI/PET) are required to stage the disease.
T staging describes the locoregional extent of the tumor. It may be T1 to T4 depending on size of the tumor and involvement of surrounding structures.
N and M Staging
N is the nodal staging that may be N0 or N1 depending on the regional lymph nodes involved by tumor. And M is the metastatic staging that can be M0 or M1 depending on the presence of distant tumor spread.
Localised and Locally Advanced Disease
Below is a description of treatment of localized and locally advanced kidney cancer, depending on the TNM staging discussed above.
And here is the treatment for metastatic kidney cancer, depending on whether it is resectable or not.
Kidney Cancer Videos
CancerBro meets Mr. Kenny – Kidney Cancer Patient
Watch the video below where CancerBro meets Mr Kenny who has recently been diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Risk factors for kidney cancer are explained below.
Symptoms and signs with which kidney cancer presents commonly.
Investigations for Diagnosis and Staging
Following video explains the investigations that are required to confirm the diagnosis and stage the disease.
Anatomy of Kidney
It is important to know the anatomy of kidney and surrounding structures to understand the staging of stomach cancer in a better way.
TNM staging is explained below in an easy to understand manner.
Treatment of Localised/ Locally Advanced Disease
Here we will discuss the treatment for kidney cancer that is localized to kidney or invaded locoregionally to nearby structures.
Treatment of Metastatic Disease
And below we have discussed the treatment for kidney cancer that has spread to distant sites.