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Does Kidney Cancer Spread Fast?

Kidney cancer is tumors that begin to grow within the kidney. Cells begin to proliferate uncontrollably, multiplying in large numbers. These cells can clump together and form a mass, or tumor, within the kidney.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, renal cell cancer is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults in the United States.

In this article, we will examine the likelihood of renal cell cancer spreading to other parts of the body and the potential spread sites. We’ll also review what to look for and expect from treatment.

How fast does kidney cancer spread?

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), essentially, renal cell carcinoma (RCC) accounts for approximately 90% of kidney cancer diagnoses in adults in the United States. Experts classify RCC into three subtypes: clear cell, papillary, and chromophobe.

Scientists explain in an article which is published in the World Journal of Oncology that the clear cell subtype essentially is both the most common and the most aggressive, or fast-growing, type of RCC. In fact, the Clear cell RCC accounts for 75% of diagnoses.

According to the article’s authors, clear cell RCC is most likely to spread to the lungs, liver, or bones. Only 7% of cases have chromosomal RCC, which accounts for 5% of diagnoses.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, many individuals do not have symptoms in the early stages of RCC and may be diagnosed after having tests for something else. According to an article published in the Asian Journal of Urology, by the time doctors diagnose RCC, it will essentially have spread in approximately one-third of cases.

What are the risk factors?

According to an article published in the World Journal of Oncology, the subtype of RCC plays a significant role in how quickly this cancer grows and spreads. The authors of the article explain that genetic factors may also be important.

Nonhereditary, or in other words somatic, mutations in the von-Hippel-Lindau gene, for example, account for 45% of clear cell RCC cases. It is noteworthy, however, that this is not a von-Hippel-Lindau syndrome; instead, it is a one-time mutation in that specific gene. 5% of cases are caused by Von-Hippel-Lindau disease.

Other general risk factors include:

  • Age: RCC is more common in older people.
  • Sex: RCC is more common in men than in women.
  • Race: According to the article’s authors, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans are at a higher risk of RCC; African Americans have a lower chance of recovering from RCC; and Hispanic and Native American populations have a higher incidence of RCC. Healthcare inequities could be one source of these disparities.
  • Weight: Researchers have discovered a consistent link between a high body mass index and RCC.
  • Blood pressure: High blood pressure, or, in other words, hypertension, can harm the kidneys and increase the risk of kidney cancer. According to the journal, high blood pressure nearly doubles the risk of developing RCC.

How does it spread?

According to the ACS, RCC begins in the linings of tiny tubes called tubules inside the kidneys. Cells multiply uncontrollably and form a mass, or tumour, in the kidney.

According to the ACS, RCC begins in the linings of tiny tubes called tubules inside the kidneys. Cells multiply uncontrollably and form a mass, or tumour, in the kidney.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), cancer cells can spread throughout the body in a variety of ways:

  • Growing into or, in other words, invading nearby tissues
  • Invading nearby blood vessels walls or, in other words, lymph nodes
  • Travelling through blood vessels or lymph nodes to other parts of the body.

Researchers are still looking into the biomechanics of RCC metastasis, but it appears to follow certain patterns. dependable source RCC can spread to a variety of locations, including

  • the most common site of metastasis, the lungs, account for 45% of cases
  • bones
  • lymph glands
  • adrenal glands
  • liver
  • brain
  • pancreas

What is the prognosis for patients with metastatic RCC?

According to a report essentially published in the Journal of Oncology Practice, ongoing research and new treatment options are increasing survival rates. According to trial results, the average survival time is, in fact, more than four years.

In fact, in a 2020 trial, the median survival rate in groups with intermediate or poor risk was slightly more than 48 months. Some people have better outcomes.

The metastasis site affects survival rates, and people with lung-only or pancreatic metastasis may have a better outlook than those with bone, liver, or even brain metastasis.

The ACS estimates that, in fact, the 5-year survival rate for people with metastatic RCC was 13% from 2011 to 2017. However, this is likely to have improved with the development of new treatments.

Treatment for metastatic RCC

According to the ACS, RCC treatment depends on whether cancer has spread to other body parts and the essential size of the original tumour.

Depending on the cancer tissue structure and also the number of metastases, a person may undergo surgery to remove affected areas and also either the entire kidney (radical nephrectomy) or the affected part of the kidney (partial nephrectomy) (partial nephrectomy).

Traditional chemotherapy is rarely effective in the treatment of metastatic RCC. Instead, immunotherapy and other targeted substances have become the primary treatment for many people, including those with extensive metastases.

Furthermore, a 2021 study discovered that combining immunotherapy and targeted therapy improved RCC survival rates.

Coping with RCC

According to a study essentially published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Urology, the psychological impact of having cancer can be enormous and correlate to a poor outcome.

Some oncology services collaborate with counselors with specific experience working with cancer patients. A person may wish to investigate this option to manage their mental health in a better way.

Practical issues, for example, transportation to and from appointments and unexpected costs, can add to the burden for someone with RCC. The ACS explains that assistance is available and suggests where to look for it.


The most common type of kidney cancer is clear cell renal cell cancer, which can spread to other body parts. It is more common in the elderly.

Doctors may initially recommend active surveillance before beginning treatments such as surgery and combination therapies to treat cancer. This may, however, depend on where and how far the cancer has spread.

Researchers are still looking into the disease and potential treatment options.


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