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What Is a Grawitz Tumor?

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  • Written By: C. Webb
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2016
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A Grawitz tumor is a tumor found in renal cell carcinoma (RCC), a kidney cancer that begins in the tubes that separate waste products from blood. When a Grawitz tumor and RCC are confined to the renal tubes, treatment often includes removal of the kidney and affected tubes. Black patients have a slightly increased risk of developing RCC.

This disease is typically symptomless until in the advanced stages. Blood is found in urine in 60 percent of the cases. Urine containing blood can be rust or brown in color, or have a pink tinge to it. Twenty-five percent of Grawitz tumor cancers include an abdominal mass. Weight loss occurs in approximately 30 percent of patients.

In addition to the more common symptoms, polycythema occurs in five percent of patients. This is a specific type of anemia directly related to the disease. Two percent of male patients report a swelling of the left testicle. Metastasized Grawitz tumor/RCC can infiltrate bones and cause fractures to occur. A cancer has metastasized when it leaves the point of origin and spreads to other parts of the body.

Sensitivity to cold, frequent unexplained fevers, and chronic fatigue also plague patients with Grawitz tumors. This disease impacts more females than males. Its incidence has seen a steady increase in recent years.

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Risk factors for a Grawitz tumor and RCC include obesity and smoking. In addition, those on dialysis for cystic disease are 30 times more likely to develop RCC than others. Ultrasound imaging is the most accurate diagnostic tool for RCC. If a tumor is seen, the next step is a CAT (CT) scan of the abdomen to verify and stage the disease. Staging gives a numeric value to how advanced the cancer is.

Forty percent of RCC is diagnosed while still confined to the kidneys. Such cases have a 90-percent cure rate following surgical kidney removal. Once the disease has metastasized, the survival rate is less promising. Chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation are typically introduced. A medical evaluation should be sought any time symptoms of RCC are present.

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