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Types of Kidney & Ureter Cancer

Renal Cell Cancer

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of kidney and ureter cancer in adults (85%). In RCC, cancerous (malignant) cells develop in the lining of the kidney's tubules and grow into a mass. In most cases, a single tumor develops, although more than one tumor can develop within one or both kidneys.

Transitional Cell Cancer of the Renal Pelvis and/or Ureter

About 6% to 7% of kidney and ureter cancer does not arise in the kidney itself, but in the renal pelvis, the point where the kidney joins the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder (ureter). These tumors are called transitional cell carcinomas (TCC) and are made up of cancer cells different from those that characterize RCC.

Wilms Tumor

Wilms tumor, named after the German surgeon Dr. Carl Max Wilhelm Wilms, is the most common form of renal cancer in children. It is also referred to as nephroblastoma.

The kidney develops while the baby is still in the womb. Some kidney cells do not differentiate fully into the various types of cells that make up a mature kidney; generally by the time a child is 3 or 4 years old all cells have properly matured. Sometimes some of these cells begin growing out of control before maturity. The result is a mass of wildly growing primitive, small cells, called Wilms tumor.

Wilms tumor occurs most commonly in children under the age of 15 and is curable in the majority of affected children.