About this disease

What it is about

Carcinoma arises from changes in the cells as a result of errors in the regulation of so-called signal transduction. Immune reactions and vascularization in the tumor tissue also play a role. In five percent of cases, the disease is hereditary, for example in the context of the so-called von Hippel-Lindau syndrome. Other risk factors, such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure or chronic kidney function impairment, can promote the development of kidney cancer.


85 percent of malignant kidney cancers are renal cell carcinomas. Other forms include urothelial carcinoma originating from the renal pelvis, lymphomas or sarcomas. In 75 to 80 percent of renal cell carcinomas, a so-called clear cell carcinoma is present in the tissue. Rarer types are papillary or chromophobe carcinomas.

Symptoms and consequences

In early stages, there are often no symptoms, which is why renal carcinoma is sometimes a purely incidental finding that occurs during a check-up ultrasound scan or computed tomography (CT) scan of the abdomen. Blood in the urine, flank pain, the rise of calcium in the blood, and general symptoms such as unwanted weight loss, fatigue, anemia, or increase in red blood cells usually indicate advanced disease. The cancer can spread to the lungs, brain, bones or liver and form so-called metastases.

What we do for you

Examination and diagnosis

If kidney cancer is suspected, blood and urine tests, ultrasound and computer tomography (CT) are performed first. In addition, a possible spread to lymph nodes, vessels and other organs is examined. If surgery is performed, it is not always necessary to take a tissue sample in advance, but the kidney function should be clarified and it should be checked whether the renal vessels are also affected. A therapy recommendation is determined in the course of the interdisciplinary tumor case discussion, the so-called tumor board.


Kidney cancer can be cured by surgical removal of the kidney, known as radical nephrectomy. For small tumors, it is possible to preserve the healthy part of the kidney (partial nephrectomy). The operation can be performed open or minimally invasive with reflection and robotics (laparoscopy). If metastases are present, medications are used. In the case of painful bone metastases, targeted radiotherapy proves to be extremely effective.

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