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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Kidney Cancer, Version 1.2017

papillary RCC

The second most common subtype of RCC (renal cell

carcinoma) based on how the cancer cells look when

viewed with a microscope.

partial nephrectomy

Surgery to remove a small part of the kidney with the tumor.


A doctor who’s an expert in testing cells and tissue to find



The body area between the hip bones.

physical exam

A review of the body by a health expert for signs of disease.

poor risk factor

Something that increases the chance (risk) that cancer will

be aggressive and grow (progress) quickly.

primary treatment

The main treatment used to rid the body of cancer.

primary tumor

The first mass of cancer cells in the body.


The likely or expected course and outcome of a disease.

radiation oncologist

A doctor who’s an expert in treating cancer with radiation.

radiation therapy

Use of high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells.

radical nephrectomy

Surgery that removes the whole kidney with the tumor, the

fatty tissue around the kidney, and possibly the attached

adrenal gland and nearby lymph nodes.


A doctor who’s an expert in reading imaging tests—tests

that make pictures of the inside of the body.


A substance that releases small amounts of energy

(radiation) that is put into the body to make pictures clearer.


A protein inside or on the surface of cells to which

substances can attach to cause a certain effect in the cell.


The return of cancer after treatment. Also called a relapse.

red blood cell

A type of blood cell that carries oxygen from the lungs to the

rest of the body.


The return of cancer after treatment. Also called a


renal artery

The blood vessel that carries blood into the kidney.

renal cell carcinoma (RCC)

The most common type of kidney cancer. It starts in the

cells that line the renal tubules—tiny tubes that filter blood

and make urine.

renal pelvis

The space in the middle of the kidneys where urine collects

before leaving the kidneys though long, thin tubes called


renal sarcoma

Cancer that starts in the blood vessels or connective tissue

of the kidneys.

renal tubules

Tiny tubes in the kidneys that filter blood and make urine

from the waste and extra water filtered out of blood.

renal vein

The blood vessel that carries clean blood out of the kidney.

side effect

An unhealthy or unpleasant condition caused by treatment.

spinal cord

The bundle of nerves in the spine (backbone) that carries

messages between the brain and other parts of the body.


The bones, muscles, and other tissues that reach from the

base of the skull to the tailbone. Also called backbone.


The process of rating and describing the extent of cancer in

the body.

stereotactic radiosurgery

A type of radiation therapy that delivers a high dose of

radiation to a small, specific area.