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Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancer: Home

What Is Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancer?

The body is made up of many types of cells. Normally, cells grow, divide, and produce more cells as needed to keep the body healthy and functioning properly. Sometimes, however, the process goes wrong and cells become abnormal, forming more cells in an uncontrolled way. These extra cells form a mass of tissue, called a growth or tumor. Tumors can be benign, which means not cancerous, or malignant, which means cancerous. Kidney cancer is cancer that starts in the kidneys. 

People have two kidneys, one on each side of the spine, above the waist. The kidneys clean the blood to take out waste and make urine. Urine collects in the renal pelvis, the area at the center of the kidney, and then passes through the ureter, into the bladder, and out of the body. The kidneys also make hormones that help control blood pressure and signal the bone marrow to make red blood cells when needed.

There are three main types of kidney cancer. Renal cell cancer is the most common type in adults and Wilms tumors are the most common in children. These types form in the tissues of the kidney that make urine. Transitional cell cancer forms in the renal pelvis and ureter in adults.

Smoking and taking certain pain medicines for a long time can increase the risk of adult kidney cancer. Certain inherited disorders can increase the risk of kidney cancer in children and adults. These include von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer, Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome, and hereditary papillary renal cancer.

Source: National Cancer Institute - Kidney Cancer
Image source: BruceBlaus (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Patient Navigation

The Ridley-Tree Cancer Center provides Patient Navigation services in order to assist patients on the journey to live with, through, and beyond cancer. Navigators serve as a liaison between individual patients and the various healthcare providers required for proper diagnosis, treatment, and disease management.

Navigators offer coordination of care throughout a cancer patient's experience, by:

  • Explaining medical procedures and providing cancer information
  • Ensuring medical appointments are scheduled and kept
  • Coordinating and streamlining insurance information
  • Identifying local resources and appropriate support
  • Enhancing communication between care providers

For more information, contact the Patient Navigation department at (805) 879-0660 or navigator@ridleytreecc.org.

Support Group

Tools for Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis

This group provides a safe place for those who are newly diagnosed with cancer to share and learn coping skills for the cancer journey. The group will discuss common issues that affect most people when they are initially diagnosed, such as shock, sharing the diagnosis or not, regaining control, dealing with a new self-image, living with uncertainty, and more.

Date and Time
2nd and 4th Monday of each month, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
For upcoming dates and times, check the Cancer Center calendar.

Location
Sansum Clinic - 317 West Pueblo Street, Board Room 1st floor
Parking is available on the property.

Oncology Social Work Services and Counseling

Cancer can involve significant psychological, social, and economic challenges for patients and their families. How and if these challenges are addressed is an important aspect of a patient’s care plan. The Ridley-Tree Cancer Center employs clinical social workers who provide emotional and practical support for patients, their families, and their friends. Oncology Social Workers can provide advocacy and referrals as well as individual and family counseling services.

Services are available at no cost and are available to anyone in our community, regardless of where they are receiving medical care. 

For more information, call (805) 879-5690.  

Resources provided by the Cancer Resource Library are for informational purposes only. The information in these materials may or may not apply to your specific condition, and should not be construed as medical advice. We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider to review anything you learn through these resources.

Ridley-Tree Cancer Center provides comprehensive cancer treatment and support programs for patients and families. We are recognized for medical excellence, a strong clinical research program, and a multidisciplinary approach to cancer prevention.

Cancer Resource Library | 540 West Pueblo Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93105 | (805) 563-5807 | library@ridleytreecc.org | www.ridleytreecc.org