Kidney Cancer (Renal Cell Carcinoma)
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is an asymptomatic cancer that starts in your kidneys. Regular physical examinations by a specialist at Fairbanks Urology in Fairbanks, AK, can catch RCC at an early stage and improve your prognosis. Fairbanks Urology offers diagnosis and treatment for all stages of RCC to women and men in Alaska. Call now or use the online booking form to schedule a consultation with Dr. Nimeh: 970-328-0989
Renal Cell Carcinoma Q & A
What is renal cell carcinoma?
RCC is a disease characterized by the development of malignant cells in the tubules of your kidneys. The renal tubules are tiny tubes that filter the blood that runs through your kidneys, removing waste products and producing urine that travels to your bladder.
Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer and the 14th most prevalent of all cancers, affecting approximately 15 out of every 100,000 men, women, and children in the United States per year.
What are some risk factors for RCC?
You may be at increased risk for RCC if you are:
- African-American or Hispanic
- A smoker
- Overusing drugs (including over-the-counter medications)
- Hypertensive (high blood pressure)
- In a high-risk group for hereditary RCC
Hereditary RCC is found in men and women with von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) syndrome, hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma (HPRCC), hereditary leiomyomatosis and RCC, and Birt–Hogg–Dubé (BHD) syndrome.
What are the symptoms of RCC?
Renal cell carcinoma tends to be asymptomatic. During routine examinations, blood tests, urinalysis, and liver-function tests, your specialist at EVU checks for abnormalities that may indicate the presence of RCC. Your personal and family history may alert your urologist that you could be at increased risk.
You should immediately contact your EVU urologist if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Blood in urine
- Lump in abdomen
- Persistent pain in your side
- Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite
If your EVU urologist suspects that you have RCC, you undergo diagnostic tests such as ultrasound and biopsy.
What happens if I have RCC?
If you have RCC, your doctor at EVU performs further tests to establish the stage of your disease. Cancers that are caught early are easier to treat than those that have spread (metastasized) through your circulatory or lymph systems to form tumors in other parts of your body.
How is RCC treated?
Traditional treatments for RCC are chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. At Fairbanks Urology we offer kidney-preserving robotic surgery called "Robotic Partial Nephrectomy" which allows you to keep your kidney while getting rid of the tumor provided the tumor is under a certain size and in certain locations. Newer options include targeted therapy and biologic therapy.
If you suspect you have RCC or are in a high-risk group, call your trusted kidney cancer specialist at Fairbanks Urology or book an appointment online today to have a consultation with a specialist as soon as possible.