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Kidney Cancer

What is Kidney Cancer?

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common kind of kidney cancer. Normally, your kidneys filter your blood and excrete waste in urine. Although our kidneys are important, we actually need less than one complete kidney to function.

RCC starts when a single cell in the kidney undergoes a change in its genetic program that tells the cell to grow and divide when it shouldn’t. Once enough cancer cells are created, a tumour will form inside the kidney.

As the tumour gets larger, some of the cancer cells may enter the bloodstream and spread from the kidneys to another part of the body. New tumours may then develop in other organs. This is called advanced or metastatic RCC (mRCC). But this is still RCC. So even if cancer from your kidney spreads to your lungs, it is still called RCC (metastatic RCC) and not lung cancer.

RCC often grows as a single tumour within one kidney. Sometimes more than one tumour can grow in one kidney. Less often, tumours may grow in both kidneys at the same time.