Metastatic renal cancer is a type of kidney cancer, commonly known as metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC), and is a particularly dangerous form of the cancer. Originating in the small tubes that kidneys use to filter blood and remove toxins, RCC has a high resilience to most conventional radiation therapy and invasive surgery is generally necessary. Once it reaches a metastatic state, however, the cancer has spread to other organs and created a wider range of issues to combat. Most often metastatic RCC affects neighboring organ tissue such as the lungs or digestive tract, though it can be known to spread throughout the body due to its close relation with the circulatory system and can even metastasize to the brain.
Signs and symptoms of RCC can vary from person to person, though some common symptoms include abnormal color of urine (such as dark urine or cloudy urine) due to the presence of blood (red urine), loin pain, mass development in the abdominal region, weight loss and anemia. Other symptoms are less common but may include vision abnormalities, constipation, hypertension, night sweats and severe sudden weight loss. Should you exhibit any of these symptoms it is highly recommended that you seek out a medical professional immediately in order to receive a full diagnosis and rule out RCC as a potential cause of any problems.
Diagnosis generally must be done through a number of different examinations and tests and can not be determined by symptoms alone as these are not conclusive of the disease itself – other factors such as kidney stones, urinary tract infections or other conditions could easily cause the same or similar symptoms in patients. Physical examinations of the abdomen, imaging tests and some lab tests (though these are less common) are all ways used by doctors to diagnose the cancer and, if caught in the early stages, treat any developments quickly.
When caught in the early stages most prognosis for RCC is fairly good, with the 5-year survival rate on individuals with tumors at 90-95%. Larger tumors typically lower the 5-year survival rate to 80-85%, while if the cancer has metastasized to the lymph notes the 5-year survival rate drops to 5-15% and below 5% if it has metastasized to other organs.
Most current treatments for this particular form of cancer require surgery and removal of the tumors as the cancer is particularly resilient to chemotherapy, though some treatments using immunotherapy to stimulate the body’s own immune system to attack the cancer cells has proven effective in some patients, effectively curing them of the disease after extended treatment. Immunotherapy is not necessarily effective for everyone, however, and as such can not be considered a viable treatment for most cases due to the fact that the successful treatment rate using this form is generally less than 10%. Still, research is continuing to be done into this field in the hopes of increasing the effectiveness and provide a reasonable less-invasive alternative to the standard surgical treatment currently used for most cases. Some cancer vaccines have also been tested and shown some success in combating RCC, however the success rate is still too low to be considered of any reasonable worth.