Renal cell carcinoma accounts for 85 percent of the cases of kidney cancer. Men in the age group of 50 to 70 are mostly diagnosed with this cancer. As the two most important cancer treatments available in conventional methods, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are not effective in the treatment of this form of kidney cancer, renal cell carcinoma life expectancy is dependent on the efficacy of surgeries and other approaches to the treatment of the tumour. The other approaches become particularly relevant if the tumour has happened to invade other organs.
As in the case of any other cancer, the survival rate depends on the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. For kidney cancer diagnosis, doctors use a system known as the tumour node metastasis to determine the stage to which the cancer has progressed. It is based on size of the primary tumour, the spread of the cancer to different organs and the extent to which the cancer has affected the lymph nodes. Accordingly, there are 4 stages:
According to American Cancer Society, the survival rate for patients of renal cell carcinoma in the first stage is 81 percent. Survival rate means whether the person would be alive after 5 years or not. It is higher in stage 1 because surgical removal of tumour is quite possible in this initial phase.
Patients diagnosed with stage 2 renal cell carcinoma have been found to have a 74 percent survival rate according to the American Cancer Society. The high survival rate can again be attributed to the possibility of surgical removal of the malignant tumour.
When the cancer has reached this stage, it becomes very difficult to treat as it becomes very difficult to isolate and remove the tumour. In particular, the spread of the tumour to nearby lymph nodes makes it very difficult to surgically remove. That is why the 5 year survival rate at this stage falls to 53 percent from the 74 percent in stage 2.
The last stage of renal cell carcinoma is the least treatable and for obvious reasons. It is the stage in which the cancer cells have metastasised and reached other organs of the body. The fibrous layer around the kidneys is compromised as the malignant cells grow through them. Since any kind of surgical removal of tumour is impossible, treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the only options to fall back upon. They are not useful form of treatment for renal cell carcinoma; hence the survival rate languishes at 8 percent.
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