Kidney Cancer – Types & Stages

Radiation Therapy Clinic in Phoenix, AZ

As one of Phoenix’s leading cancer treatment providers, Palo Verde Cancer Specialists is proud to operate six world-class radiation therapy clinics serving Payson, Scottsdale, Glendale, and the greater Phoenix, AZ area. We strive to prioritize nonsurgical, noninvasive treatments wherever possible, and our team specializes in treating a wide range of cancerous conditions. If you or someone you love recently received a kidney cancer diagnosis, we know how difficult of an experience that is – but we’re here to help.

Types of Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer make take the form of several different specific conditions, depending on what type of cell and where in the kidney the original tumor forms. These conditions include:

  • Renal Cell Carcinoma: these cancer start in the renal cells, which line the inside of the tiny tubules that help filter the blood and create urine. Renal cell cancers account for roughly 80% of kidney cancer diagnoses. Renal cell cancer is further subdivided into three groups depending on the type of renal cell affected:
    • Clear Cell: Making up roughly 75% of renal cell cancers.
    • Papillary: Accounts for about 10% of renal cell cancers.
    • Chromophobe: Makes up about 5% of renal cell cancers.
    • Rare Kidney Forms of Cancer:The remaining 5% of cases are made up of rare forms including carcinoma of the collecting ducts and renal medullary carcinoma.
  • Transitional Cell Carcinoma: Accounting for about 8% of kidney cancer cases, these form in the transitional cells in the renal pelvis, which is where urine collects before passing to the bladder.
  • Wilms’ Tumor: This form of kidney cancer usually affects children and is treated differently than kidney cancer in adults.

Stages of Kidney Cancer

As with many other forms of cancer, kidney cancer is described using a TNM staging system. The staging system assesses how severe the cancer is holistically and how far it has progressed. The variables T, N, and M stand for the following:

  • Tumor: This variable assesses the size of the original tumor.
  • Node: Assesses if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
  • Metastasis: Usually a factor only in advanced cancers, this describes whether or not the tumor has spread to distant sites.

Each of these variables is assessed independently, then they are combined to produce an overall stage of the cancer. Kidney cancer staging goes as follows:

  • Stage I: The tumor is less than 7cm across, completely inside the kidney, and has not spread to any veins or lymph nodes.
  • Stage II: The tumor is larger than 7cm across, but it’s still completely inside the kidney and has yet to reach any lymph nodes or major veins.
  • Stage III: The tumor has grown into a major vein in the kidney and may have reached one lymph node.
  • Stage IV: Either the cancer has reached more than one lymph node, or the cancer has spread to a distant site such as the lungs. This is the most serious stage of kidney cancer.

Schedule a Consultation with Your Scottsdale Cancer Center

A kidney cancer diagnosis is serious at any stage, but no matter what the outlook, the cancer treatment experts at Palo Verde Cancer Specialists are here to help. As a leading radiation therapy treatment provider serving Glendale, Payson, & Phoenix, AZ, we are committed to designing minimally invasive treatment plans for our patients and helping them thrive during treatment and recovery. If you’d like to learn more about how we can provide new hope for beating cancer, reach out to us at our contact page today to schedule a consultation. Together, we’ll help you overcome your cancer and reclaim the life you deserve.

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