Kidney Tumors

About the size of a tiny fist, kidneys are bean-shaped organs that filter the blood to remove impurities, excess minerals, slats and extra water. There are two of these organs, each working independently, working to purify the blood. 

Tumors in kidneys begin when healthy cells in one or both of the kidneys start to grow out of control. The mass that grows in the kidneys can be malignant, indolent or benign.

Benign tumors are not cancerous, but the rest are. 

The malignant tumors metastasize to other parts of the body. This means that the tumor if not controlled by surgical means in time can spread to other parts of the body, causing the cells there to malfunction and cause secondary cancer in other parts of the body as well.

The indolent type of tumors doesn’t metastasize, but they are cancerous nonetheless. If not treated in time, they destroy the kidneys.

Depending on the kind of damage kidney cancers could do and where they are formed, kidney cancers are classified into five types.

  1. Renal cell carcinoma: There are thousands of tiny filtration tubes that make up the kidney’s filtration system. A cancerous tumor in such a region is called renal cell carcinoma. This type makes up 85% of all kidney cancer diagnoses. 
  2. Urothelial carcinoma: This type of cancer forms in the renal pelvis, an area of the kidneys where urine collects before moving to the bladder. Bladder cancer and this type of kidney cancer have a similar treatment types.
  3. Sarcoma: When the thin layer of connective tissues surrounding the kidneys, such as kidney fat tissues, form a cancerous tumor, it’s called sarcoma. This type of cancer is very rare, but could be deadly nevertheless.
  4. Wilms tumor: They generally occur more in children, thus they are treated in a separate way than other types of kidney cancers. 
  5. Lymphoma: When the lymph nodes, nodes that contain immune cells that fight infection by release in the lymph fluid in the kidneys, get enlarged, they could cause this type of cancer. They appear in the kidneys as a lone tumor mass. A biopsy is needed to check for such cancer.


Although most kidney cancers have no symptoms till it’s too late, you should look out for the below Symptoms of kidney cancer to better your chances of survival and recovery.

  1. Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  2. Low back pain on one side (not caused by injury)
  3. A mass (lump) on the side or lower back
  4. Fatigue (tiredness)
  5. Loss of appetite
  6. Weight loss not caused by dieting
  7. Fever that is not caused by an infection and that doesn’t go away
  8. Anemia (low red blood cell counts)

 Treatment:

Surgery and subsequent chemotherapy are the only options when it comes to the treatment of cancer. 

Some of the surgery recommended are:

Laparoscopic Partial Nephrectomy for Up to 5 Cm can be removed without removing the Kidney. It can be attempted in tumors up to 7 Cm

2- Laparoscopic Radical Nephrectomy for tumors larger than 7 cm. It needs the removal of the whole kidney. 

3- Open Radical Nephrectomy for very large tumors which involve the whole kidney can are attached to large Blood vessels or surrounding organs.