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What is the prognosis of a renal cell carcinoma diagnosis?

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Quick Answer

Renal cell carcinoma five-year survival rates range from 81 percent for stage 1 diagnosis to 8 percent for stage 4 diagnosis, according to the American Cancer Society. Treatment options and the chances for recovery vary with disease stage, patient age and patient general health, as stated by the National Cancer Institute.

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Full Answer

The National Cancer Institute defines four stages of renal cell carcinoma. Stage 1 refers to a tumor 7 millimeters or less in size and located only in the kidney. Stage 2 refers to a tumor greater than 7 millimeters in size and confined exclusively in the kidney. Stage 3 means a tumor of any size is found in the kidney and also in at least one nearby lymph node. Stage 3 is also diagnosed if the tumor is located in the kidney's main blood vessel or surrounding fatty tissue. A stage 4 diagnosis means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body such as the adrenal gland immediately above the kidney, lymph nodes, or organs such as the liver, brain, lungs or bones.

Treatment options include various surgeries to remove affected tissues and organs, radiation therapy to kill cancerous cells and impede continued growth, and chemotherapy drugs to prevent growth, explains the National Cancer Institute. Additional options include biologic therapy leveraging the patient's own immune system to combat cancerous cells and targeted therapy that deploys substances to kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

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