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Renal Cell Cancer

Intro

Contact a health care provider if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain in the side that will not go away
  • A lump in the side or belly
  • Unexplained fevers  
  • Weight loss  
  • Night sweats

If any unexplained symptoms last more than a few days, or if a person just “doesn't feel right,” make an appointment with a health care professional.

Do not ignore these symptoms or hope that they will just go away. They may not be cancer  , but if they are, an early diagnosis is better. The earlier a cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the chances are of a full recovery.

Follow-up

After treatment is completed, a urologist/oncologist will perform regular evaluations, typically every 4 or 6 months for as long as 5 years. These visits include history and physical examination along with imaging studies, such as chest x-rays and abdominal CT scans, to monitor the condition and lab tests to make sure the kidneys   and other organs are working properly.

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Prevention

The best way to avoid renal cell cancer, and many other cancers, is not to smoke. Eating a healthy, balanced diet   and maintaining a healthy weight also reduce the risk of cancer.

Outlook

The outlook for a person with renal cell cancer depends on the stage, the type of treatment received, the complications of the disease, and the person's overall condition. In general, the lower the stage at the time of treatment, the better the prognosis. Tumors confined to the kidney have the best chance of cure. About 25-30% of people have metastatic disease at diagnosis.

In people whose disease is limited to the kidney area, 20-30% develop metastatic disease after nephrectomy. Those who have a long disease-free interval between nephrectomy and the appearance of metastases usually do best. Those with a solitary metastasis to a lung usually have the best outlook, since such metastases can often be treated by surgery. Patients with more extensive metastatic disease may benefit from biological therapy and should see an oncologist who specializes in these treatments.

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