Background. The purpose of this paper is to present the epidemiology, diagnostic workup and treatment of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) with an emphasis on the Slovenian epidemiological data. RCC represents 2% of all cancers and is the third most common genitourinary tract tumour. It most frequently occurs among people of ages, between 50 and 60 years. Male patients are more prone to it than female. A number of environmental, occupational and genetic factors have been found to be associated with the development of RCC. Patients often have nonspecific symptoms and this is the reason why for half of them the disease is already metastatic when diagnosed. The most common sites of metastases are lungs (75%), followed by soft tissues (36%), bones (20%), liver (18%), skin (8%) and central nerve system (8%). In the evaluation of RCC multiple diagnostic procedures are needed with obligatory image diagnostics.
Conclusions. Radical nephrectomy is still the mainstream treatment of localized disease. Nephron sparing techniques have been used in cases, where radical operation would result in an anephric patient. Efficient adjuvant therapy has not been discovered yet. Until recently interpherone and interleukin were the only known effective treatments for metastatic disease, but now new and more efficient biologic agents are being discovered. The most important prognostic factor for survival is stage at the beginning of treatment. The 5-year survival rate is 95% for patients with stage I disease, 88% for stage II, 59% for stage III and 20% for stage IV.