Kidney stones are among the most complained health issues of people. These stones form in the kidneys due to excess of minerals crystallizing there. It happens due to unhealthy eating habits such as having too much oxalate, not having enough calcium and fluids, etc.
Though kidney stones are quite common and absolutely curable, they can increase the probability of cancer in some cases. Well, do not panic, it actually happens in just a few rare and severe cases.
Although sufficient evidence is not present, recent studies indicate that chronic and recurrent kidney stones can very often be associated with an increased risk of cancer in the urinary tract.
The following are some of the results and conclusions of a study conducted by some researchers from Maastricht University, The Netherlands.
Kidney stones and cancer- How are they linked?
Increased risk of Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC)
Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer. In renal cell carcinoma, the cells in the lining of the kidney tubules start to grow at an uncontrollable rate. It is fast-growing cancer and spreads at a very speedy rate. It can spread to the lungs and other organs and can have life-threatening implications.
According to the aforementioned Netherlands Cohort Study, people who have a history of kidney stones have a 39% increased risk of renal cell carcinoma. Kidney stones increase the risk of papillary renal cell carcinoma (pRCC) by as much as 3-folds. The risk is even higher for people who had kidney stones at an age below 40 years.
Increased risk of Upper Tract Urothelial Carcinoma (UTUC)
Upper tract urothelial carcinoma refers to cancers in the lining of the kidney or the ureter. Just like other types of cancer, it can also spread to other body organs. Upper tract urothelial carcinoma puts you at the risk of losing your kidney or ureter and in severe cases, it may lead to death as well.
Data from the same study has revealed that kidney stones are associated with a 1.7 fold increase in the risk of upper tract urothelial cancers.
What is the mechanism through which kidney stones lead to cancer?
The exact link between kidney stones and kidney cancer is not known and more research is needed in the area. However, experts believe that kidney stones can rub against the walls of the urinary tract and cause chronic localized irritation and inflammation in the kidney and the ureter. When certain harmful solutes present in the urine come in contact with these areas, they tend to produce a cancer-causing effect.
Are men and women at an equal risk of cancer due to kidney stones?
The increase in the risk of RCC and pRCC was different for men and women. Women with a history of kidney stones had a significantly higher risk of pRCC. Whereas for RCC, the risk in men was somewhat elevated but kidney stones did not seem to affect women’s risk of developing cancer.
But as mentioned earlier, not every case of kidney stone turns into a complicated cancer one. This happens only when you do not pay the required attention to your body’s condition.
But don’t you worry, we have some simple tips for you if you also experience the mild pain and symptoms of kidney stones.
Tips to prevent the kidney stones from causing cancer (or getting severe)
- Eat foods that are loaded with anti-inflammatory properties- Foods rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties alleviate the pain and discomforts of kidney stones and also flush toxins out of the body, thereby preventing kidney stones from aggravating. Thus, you should have more citrus fruits and remedies such as barley water, basil juice, etc. (Also Read: Diet chart for kidney stones)
- Have hydrating natural fluids- Fluids are the key to improving the condition of kidney stones. Drink plenty of hydrating fluids and juices. These promote tissue and kidney health and thus help the kidney to function optimally.
- Ensure proper oxygenated blood supply- In order to function properly, your kidneys need sufficient blood and oxygen supply. Therefore, perform yoga asanas, mild exercises, and stretching as these improve the circulation of blood, and in turn, the supply of oxygen to the kidneys.
- Have medicines only that your doctor prescribes- If your doctor has prescribed any medications, take them as prescribed. Remember not to overdose and also do not miss any doses. And yes, self-medication is not at all an option.
Following these tips will help you majorly in keeping away the chances due to kidney stones. And, your overall health will also improve, filling you with more energy.
The Bottom Line
Kidney stones can cause you troubles at any point in your life, it’s better always to maintain a healthy routine that is active enough. This will enable you to easily deal with the condition of kidney stones.
If you are currently dealing with the symptoms of kidney stones, you must immediately look for a specialist. You can get in touch with us at Pristyn Care to get the best consultation with one of our specialists.
Also, remember that there is nothing to fear if you get proper and timely treatment for kidney stones.