Kidney Cancer: Know all about the 4 deadly stages of this dangerous disease

One of the deadliest cancers, kidney cancer, doctors say, spreads quickly and aggressively. With each passing stage, the survival rate decreases, making it a life-threatening disease. Read on to learn all about the four stages of kidney cancer and the signs and symptoms it brings.

Updated July 4, 2023 | 3:06 PM IST

Kidney cancer is among the top ten cancers in india about 2-3 of all fallen

New Delhi: Kidney cancer or renal cell carcinoma is one of the deadliest yet most common cancers that can spiral out of control in no time. People suffering from this dangerous condition suffer from pain, high blood pressure, blood in their urine and many other symptoms.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research or ICMR, kidney cancer is among the top ten cancers in India, accounting for about 2-3 percent of all cases, and is most often diagnosed in people between the ages of 50 and 70.

What Is Kidney Cancer and How Does It Affect You?

Oxford University Press says cancer spreads in your kidneys when there is an abnormal growth of cells, which in no time multiply and form a tumor. A cancerous or malignant tumor quickly spread to other tissues and vital organs.

Different types of kidney cancer include:

  • Renal cell carcinoma
  • Transitional cell cancer
  • Kidney sarcoma
  • Wilms tumor

How fast does kidney cancer spread?

The American Cancer Society says kidney cancer accounts for about 90 percent of adult diagnoses in the United States. The most common subtypes of RCC are clear cell, papillary, and chromophobe.
In an article published in the World Journal of Oncology, the clear cell subtype is both the most common and the most aggressive or fast-growing cancer, accounting for at least 75 percent of diagnoses. 1

Research shows that kidney tumors grow an average of 0.3 cm per year. However, the doctors say that growth rates are highly variable and can generally be faster in people who are younger and physically fit.


Different stages of kidney cancer

The different stages of kidney cancer include:

Phase 1

This is the earliest stage of kidney cancer, where the tumor is less than 7 cm in diameter. At this stage, it is usually confined to the kidneys and does not spread to nearby lymph nodes.

Doctors usually say that stage one cancer can be addressed with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or removing the kidney through a procedure known as nephrectomy.

This may involve removing part of a removed kidney, or an entire kidney along with the surrounding fat and adrenal gland, depending on the condition. 2
According to statistics from Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the five-year survival rate for stage 1 kidney cancer is at least 81 percent.

Stage 2

Stage 2 is more serious than stage 1, where the tumor is larger than 7 centimeters but has not spread to lymph nodes or other organs. Treatment involves removing the cancerous kidney, but follow-up therapy may not be necessary.

The five-year survival rate for stage 2 kidney cancer is 75 percent.

Phase 3

Doctors say that in stage 3, the cancer spreads beyond the kidney and invades nearby lymph nodes, such as the adrenal glands or vena cava, the vein that goes to the heart. Treatment for stage 3 kidney cancer includes surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and a combination.

According to doctors, the survival rate for stage 3 kidney cancer is about 53 percent.

Phase 4

At stage 4, kidney cancer can be classified into two –

  • Tumor grows larger than the kidney and aggressively spreads to other organs and lymph nodes
  • Tumor that grows to any size may be in lymph nodes and has spread to other organs or further lymph nodes

According to health experts, the five-year survival rate plummets at this stage to just 8 percent after diagnosis.

Signs and Symptoms

In the early stages, the kidney produces no noticeable symptoms, but as it grows, the signs begin to become more apparent. Some of these are:

  • Blood in the urine or hematuria
  • A lump or mass around the kidneys
  • Pain
  • Fatigue and constant tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Mild fever
  • Bone pain
  • High bloodpressure
  • Increase in calcium
  • Anemia

disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietitian before starting any fitness program or changing your diet.

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