The Types and Stages of Kidney Cancer


Marijke Vroomen Durning, RN

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Doctor and patient

Kidney cancer occurs when cancer cells form inside the kidney’s tubules or in the kidney tissue itself. Your kidneys are fist-sized organs in your lower mid back, on each side of your spine. Kidney cancer can affect one kidney or spread to both kidneys. The survival rate for kidney cancer is high when doctors find it before it spreads to other organs. Here is a look at types of kidney cancer, kidney cancer stages, and why this information matters when it comes to kidney cancer prognosis.

Types of Kidney Cancer

There are several types of kidney cancer and they are classified by the type of cell and where the cancer cells formed. The most common is renal cell carcinoma (RCC). It makes up about 85 to 90% of all kidney cancer cases in the United States. The cancer cells form inside renal cortex, an area where small tubes transport urine after filtration. Renal cell carcinoma has subgroups, which include clear cell RCC, papillary RCC, and chromophobe RCC.

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