Can Kidney Cancer Spread to the Stomach?

If you’re diagnosed with kidney cancer, your mind may whirl with emotion since you’re now facing a health crisis. This is particularly true if the cancer has spread, which means it is more difficult to treat. Can it spread to the stomach? This may be one of frequently asked questions since your stomach is quite close to the kidneys.

What does advanced kidney cancer means?

image_illustration439This cancer has several types, and renal cell carcinoma is the most common type (it has several sub-types such as clear cells, chromophobe renal cell carcinoma, and papillary cell carcinoma – see more these types in this section)!

It’s important to clearly determine the type of the cancer since this may affect the treatment plan. It may also affect the prognosis of the disease since a few types tend to behave more aggressively. And aggressive cancer means that there is greater chance for the cancer to spread and more difficult to treat. Other crucial variables to determine are the stage and grade of the cancer.

Advanced kidney cancer means the cancer has spread to another part of the body.

The cancer cells can break away from the primary tumor and then travel through lymphatic system or /and bloodstream. If they can thrive in the new area of the body, they may form another cancerous growth called secondary cancer. Medically, this process is called ‘metastasis’.

Secondary cancer is made up of the same cells of cancer coming from the first primary cancerous tumor. Therefore even though the cancer has spread, the treatment is mainly focused to treat the primary cancer.

In the number staging system, advanced cancer usually refers to ‘stage IV’. This stage is more difficult to treat because the chance to completely remove all the cancer cells is lower than if the cancer is caught early or when it has not spread yet.

The cancer may have become advanced in the first diagnosis. Or it may return /spread some time after the treatment.

In advanced stage of cancer, the chance to have cancer cells remaining in the body after treatment is greater. And these cancer cells may thrive and cause a cancer recurrence after treatment, a major issue to be concerned after following the cancer treatment.

Kidney cancer is one of top 10 common cancers in adults. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to catch it at early stage (when it’s most treatable or even may be curable). The bad news, the number of patients with a late diagnosis is still pretty high, though it seems that the number of patients with early diagnosis is increasing.

The good news, the prognosis and life expectancy tend to get better year by year. Thankfully for the improvement of the treatment! Some new treatments have improved to work more effectively.

Where does it usually spread to?

Stress management is important for people with cancer. Uncontrolled stress may worsen the symptoms or make the treatment work less effectively. But in fact it’s not easy to stop worrying about the chance of the cancer to spread elsewhere in the body.

Once the cancer cells break free from its primary tumor, it may travel to other parts of the body. Theoretically, the cancer cells can spread anywhere. But in general, they tend to travel to next ‘downstream’ organ or where they can travel more easily.

The same goes for kidney cancer. When it has become advanced, it is also more likely to spread to particular parts of the body, such as:

  1. Tissues or organs close to the affected kidney.
  2. Or to particular areas where it may spread more easily such as the other kidney, liver, lungs, bone, or sometimes brain.

For more comprehensive guide about the metastasis of advanced kidney cancer, see also this section!

Can kidney cancer spread to the stomach?

The metastasis of kidney cancer to the stomach is not common (quite rare). But it’s also quite possible for the cancer to spread to the stomach, why? The answers are outlined below: