There are several types of kidney cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, the most common is Renal Cell Carcinoma. About 9 out of 10 cases are renal cell carcinoma. In 2019, almost 74,000 people will be diagnosed with kidney cancer and about 15,000 people will die from kidney cancer in the US. Although RCC usually grows as a single tumor within a kidney, sometimes there are 2 or more tumors in one kidney or even tumors in both kidneys at the same time. There are several subtypes of RCC, based mainly on how the cancer cells look under a microscope. Knowing the subtype of RCC can be a factor in deciding treatment and can also help your doctor determine if your cancer might be due to an inherited genetic syndrome.
Clear cell renal cell carcinoma – this is the most common form of renal cell carcinoma. About 7 out of 10 people with RCC have this kind of cancer. When seen under a microscope, the cells that make up clear cell RCC look very pale or clear.
Papillary renal cell carcinoma – this is the second most common subtype – about 1 in 10 RCCs are of this type. These cancers form little finger-like projections (called papillae) in some, if not most, of the tumor. Some doctors call these cancers chromophilic because the cells take in certain dyes and look pink under the microscope.
Chromophobe renal cell carcinoma – this subtype accounts for about 5% (5 cases in 100) of RCCs. The cells of these cancers are also pale, like the clear cells, but are much larger and have certain other features that can be recognized when looked at with a microscope .
Rare types of renal cell carcinoma – these subtypes are very rare, each making up less than 1% of RCCs:
Unclassified renal cell carcinoma – rarely, renal cell cancers are labeled as unclassified because the way they look doesn’t fit into any of the other categories or because there is more than one type of cell present.
According to the American Cancer Society, about half of kidney cancers could potentially be prevented with the elimination of excess body weight and tobacco smoking, which are the strong risk factors. Additional risk factors include:
– High Blood Pressure
– Chronic Renal Failure
– occupational Exposure to Certain Chemicals
– Radiation Exposure
– Rare Hereditary Conditions
How Our Team Treats Kidney Cancer
At the Radiation Oncology Services at Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC), we treat kidney cancer painlessly and noninvasively with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT). EBRT is an effective treatment for kidney cancer, working within cancer cells to limit their ability to multiply. During treatment, high-energy X-rays are delivered to the cancer with a linear accelerator (LINAC). The treatment process is painless, safe and treatments take about 10 to 15 minutes. Side effects are usually minimal, and most patients return to routine activities immediately after each treatment.
Radiation Oncology Services at CAMC’s Advantage
Speak with one of our dedicated Team Members about how we can help today.