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What is clear cell carcinoma?

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Quick Answer

Clear cell carcinoma is a type of cancer where the malignant cells appear clear when viewed under a microscope, according to the National Cancer Institute. Clear cell carcinoma is rare and most often occurs in the female reproductive system; however, other organs can also develop this type of cancer.

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Discovery of clear cell cancers of the endometrium most often occurs after the cancer has spread beyond the uterus, according to the American Cancer Society. In that case, extensive surgery is necessary to remove the woman's uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes as well as a sheet of protective fat called the omentum. Sometimes the surgeon removes the lymph nodes in the pelvis and around the main artery of the heart, called the para-aortic lymph nodes, and the woman may receive pelvic washings. In this procedure, the surgeon washes out the woman's abdominal cavity and pelvis with salt water. He then sends the salt water to the laboratory to test for more cancer cells.

Clear cell carcinoma can also affect the kidneys, according to Cancer.Net. One type of this cancer, called familial non-VHL clear cell renal cell carcinoma, is hereditary. Clear cell carcinoma can also strike the liver, claims Nature.com. Scientists have found that liver and kidney clear cell carcinoma are very similar.

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