Some research suggests that the average survival rate for someone with renal medullary carcinoma (RMC) at the time of diagnosis is approximately 4 months. However, treatment may improve a person’s outlook.

RMC is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the kidneys. It begins in the internal part of the kidney, which healthcare professionals call the renal medulla. RMC typically grows quickly and can spread to other parts of the body.

Symptoms of RMC may include:

  • blood in the urine
  • pain in the area between the ribs and the hips
  • a lump in the abdomen

A younger person with sickle cell trait may be more at risk of developing RMC than others.

This article discusses the potential survival rate for someone with RMC. It also discusses treatment for RMC and when someone should consult a healthcare professional.

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RMC is an aggressive form of kidney cancer that may spread to other parts of the body in up to 95% of people. The most common places for RMC to spread include the lymph nodes, lungs, and liver.

Early diagnosis of RMC may improve the likelihood of effective treatment. However, renal cell carcinomas, such as RMC, do not typically present symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Therefore, it is common for RMC to be in the later stages before someone receives a diagnosis.

This can also mean that the disease may be more likely to have spread to other parts of the body by the time a person receives a diagnosis.

Research suggests that the average survival rate for someone with RMC at the time of diagnosis is approximately 4 months. If an individual receives an early diagnosis and treatment and the cancer has not spread, their outlook may be more positive.

However, an older 2016 study found that even following treatment, less than 20% of people with RMC survived for more than 24 months.

However, those with RMC should note that individual outlooks may vary depending on a person’s age and overall health. A healthcare professional can provide more information about someone’s outlook.

Typically, the first line of treatment for RMC limited to the kidney is surgery to remove the entire affected kidney. RMC affects the right kidney in over 75% of people. If the tumor is very large, a person may need chemotherapy to reduce its size before surgery.

If RMC has spread to other parts of the body, a doctor may recommend chemotherapy as a first line of treatment instead.

An older 2016 study suggests that surgery in combination with chemotherapy may increase the survival rate by more than double in comparison to chemotherapy alone.

Following surgery, a person may require further treatment, such as chemotherapy and cancer growth inhibitor medications.

Additionally, a 2017 case study suggests that anti-PD-1 therapy, which is a type of immunotherapy, may show some promise in treating RMC. However, anti-PD-1 therapies are still undergoing clinical trials for treating this disease.

If RMC is not responding to current treatment, a person may wish to contact a doctor to enquire about alternative therapies.

Research suggests that clinical trials for new medications to treat RMC may be a suitable alternative to current treatments. A doctor may recommend ongoing clinical trials that may be suitable for an individual.

A person with RMC can also consult a doctor if they wish to receive palliative care, which may help improve their quality of life. Healthcare professionals working in palliative care can help provide:

  • emotional support
  • financial support
  • support for exploring spiritual beliefs
  • pain management
  • support for caregivers such as family and friends
  • end-of-life support

A person with RMC can decide to continue treatment while receiving palliative care. Alternatively, they may wish to stop treatment and focus on improving their quality of life as much as possible.

Renal medullary carcinoma is a rare, aggressive form of kidney cancer that typically affects younger individuals who also have sickle cell trait. It typically grows quickly and may spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, and liver.

Early diagnosis and treatment of RMC can improve life expectancy. However, the disease does not typically present symptoms until the later stages of the disease.

The average survival rate for a person with RMC is approximately 4 months. However, individual outlooks can vary, and if a person receives treatment before the cancer has spread to other parts of their body, their likelihood of survival may increase.

Treatment may include surgery to remove the entire affected kidney and chemotherapy. However, clinical trials into new treatments are ongoing.

A person with RMC can speak with a doctor about their outlook and which treatments may work best for them. People may also wish to discuss palliative care and clinical trials with healthcare professionals.