Two types of kidney cancer
There are two types of kidney cancer - those affecting the parenchyma or "meat" of the kidney, and those that grow in the drainage system.
Renal Cell Carcinomas
The more common type of kidney cancer, those that affect the renal parenchyma are known as renal cell carcinomas. They usually present with painless hematuria (blood in the urine). These tumours are related to cigarette smoking and a minority can be genetically inherited.
If confined to the kidney (which most of them are) they are curable with surgical treatment. Unfortunately, renal tumours are resistant to radiotherapy.
The surgical approach depends on the size and location of the tumour and the underlying renal function. Sometimes the entire kidney is removed but there is an increasing trend to try and preserve as much renal function as possible and it is often possible to remove only the tumour leaving the rest of the kidney intact.
Occasionally, renal cell carcinoma has already spread to other parts of the body, and treatments other than surgery are required.
We have strong links with oncologists who are experts in this field.
Transitional Cell Carcinomas
The other type of kidney cancer is transitional cell carcinoma. This affects the drainage system of the kidney or ureter, and usually requires surgery to remove both the kidney and ureter (Nephroureterectomy).