Renal cell cancer

Renal cell cancer is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults. It is also called renal cell adenocarcinoma and occasionally hypernephroma. More than 8 in every 10 (80%) kidney cancers diagnosed in the UK are this type. This kidney cancer section is mainly about renal cell cancers.

In renal cell cancer the cancerous cells start in the lining of the tubules (the smallest tubes inside the nephrons) that help filter the blood and make urine.

There are several types of renal cell cancer. The main ones are

  • Clear cell – around 75 out of 100 renal cell cancers (75%) are this type
  • Papillary renal cell cancer – around 10 in 100 renal cell cancers (10%) are this type
  • Chromophobe renal cell cancer – around 5 in 100 renal cell cancers (5%) are this type
  • There are other cell types of renal cell cancer which are very rare, including carcinoma of the collecting ducts and renal medullary carcinoma. Sometimes kidney cancers can contain more than one cell type. If a kidney cancer is a sarcomatoid type it may have a worse outlook than non sarcomatous kidney cancers.

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