As early detection and advances in the treatment for renal cell carcinoma continue to lead to excellent oncologic outcomes, the preservation of renal function in kidney cancer patients has emerged as an increasingly important clinical objective. Given that diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cigarette smoking, and aging are independent risk factors for renal cell carcinoma, the corresponding non-neoplastic kidney diseases frequently are present, but often undiagnosed. In addition, the subsequent clinical management of the ensuing chronic kidney disease historically has not included nephrologists. Awareness of these practice gaps remain low among nephrologists, surgeons, and pathologists. This article discusses the common non-neoplastic kidney diseases that are encountered in cancer nephrectomy specimens. The accurate and timely diagnosis of these disorders will result in additional gains in clinical outcomes. There is a unique opportunity for the nephrology community to play a central role in the management of chronic kidney disease that often is present in kidney cancer patients.
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