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Occult Killer – Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC)

In adults, renal cell carcinoma (RCC) accounts for approximately 90 to 95% of neoplasms arising from the kidney. Hence, it can be considered the most common type of kidney cancer. Renal cell carcinoma stems from the lining of the proximal convoluted tubule, which are very small tubes in the kidney that transport waste products from the blood in the urine. Renal cell carcinoma accounts for 3% of all adult cancers. It most commonly occurs in adults between the ages of 50 and 70 years. Despite that, it does not discriminate and has been reported in children as young as 6 months.

Approximately 12,000 deaths from RCC are reported in the U.S each year. It is estimated that the worldwide incidence of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is increasing at an annual rate of approximately 2%. Males are generally twice at risk for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) as compared to females.

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) remains clinically occult or silent throughout its course of disease and the patient often appears well. Only 10% of patients may present with signs and symptoms. Studies have shown that 33% of patients will have metastatic disease at presentation. Recognition of RCC has been made easy by watching out for the classic triad of flank pain, bloody urine and flank mass. Hence, proper education and awareness should be taught to those at risk for developing renal cell carcinoma to prevent the incidence of renal cell carcinoma.

In the absence of metastasis, the 5-year survival rate is 65 to 90% for renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Once cancer has spread, the 5-year survival rate is lowered significantly. It is shown to resist most radiation therapy and chemotherapy, although some targeted therapies such as sunitinib, interferon alfa, temsirolimus, bevacizumab and sorafenib have shown responds for renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Definitive treatment initially is most commonly either partial or complete removal of the affected kidney(s).

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