Kidney cancer is also known as renal cancer, which is a disease in which the cells in the kidney become malignant and forms a tumor. Mostly all kidney cancers appear in the lining of the tiny tubes in the kidney. This kidney cancer is known as renal cell carcinoma. Most of the kidney stones are found before they spread and cancers which are examined early can be treated successfully. If you ask any doctor, they don’t know the cause of kidney cancer, but there are certain factors which can increase the risk of getting kidney cancer. Like an instance, kidney cancer occurs in people older than age 40. There are some risk factors for kidney cancer:
- Men are about twice as likely as women to get kidney cancer
- Extra weight can cause changes to hormones which increases your risk
- Using pain medications for a long time which includes over-the-counter drugs in addition to prescription drugs
- If you are having a family history of kidney cancer, the risk is high in siblings
- Exposure to certain chemicals like cadmium, organic solvents or benzene
- Suffering from advanced kidney disease or being on long-term dialysis
Kidney Cancer – Symptoms
In various cases, people have no symptoms of kidney cancer. As the tumor is large, symptoms can appear. You can have one or more symptoms of kidney cancer:
- Blood present in the urine
- Loss of appetite
- Pain present in your side which doesn’t go away
- Weight loss for no reason
- Extreme fatigue
- Swelling in legs or ankles
- Lump in abdomen or pain in your side
How to Know If You Are Having Kidney Cancer?
You can check for the symptoms like pain in your side, extreme fatigue or weight loss. Doctors have found a lump in the abdomen during a routine check during a test for different diseases. You will need to go through a physical exam, tests and health history. The doctor will ask you to go through these tests:
- Blood tests will show how well your kidneys are working
- By ultrasound, which uses the sound waves to form a picture of your kidneys. It can help you to tell if a tumor is fluid-filled or solid
- A CT scan will use X-rays to create a series of detailed pictures of the kidneys. This can require an injection of dye.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses strong magnets and also radio waves to create detailed images of the tissues in your body. You might need an injection of a contrast agent to get better pictures.
- IVP (intravenous pyelogram) involves X-raying the kidneys after the doctor injects a dye which travels to the urinary tract, which will highlight any tumors.
Stages of Kidney Cancer
Your procedure will depend on your health, as well as the stage and grade of your kidney cancer. Given below are the stages of kidney cancer. If the stage is higher, cancer would be advanced.
- Stage 1: If a tumor is 7 centimeters or small which is in kidney
- Stage 2: If a tumor is larger than 7 centimeters which are present in the kidney
- Stage 3: If a tumor is in the kidney and at least one nearby lymph node. A tumor present in the kidney’s main blood vessel. If a tumor is present in the fatty tissue around the kidney. A tumor which extends into the major veins.
- Stage 4: Cancer has spread beyond the fatty layer of tissue around the kidney. Cancer has spread to other organs like lungs, bowel. Cancer has spread beyond Gerota’s fascia.
Treatments for Kidney Cancer
Once you are done with the diagnosis and know the stage of kidney cancer, the doctor can plan for the treatment. The doctor can refer you to a specialist for the treatment. This could include a urologist. Before beginning the treatment, most people find it helpful to get an opinion about the treatment of kidney cancer. There are various types of treatment for kidney cancer. In most cases, surgery is the only option or the first step.
Kidney Cancer- Surgery
Given below are the main types of surgeries for kidney cancer. Which surgery your doctor will recommend totally depends on your cancer.
- Radical nephrectomy: In this procedure, the kidneys are removed surrounding the tissue. It removes the lymph nodes. It is the common surgery for kidney cancer and can be done via small incision with the help of a laparoscope.
- Partial nephrectomy: It removes cancer which is there in the kidney with some tissue which is around it. The procedure is used for the patients with smaller tumors or in those cases in which a radical nephrectomy might hurt another kidney.
Kidney Cancer- Chemotherapy
This therapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells from multiplying. This is less effective for kidney cancer than for other types of cancer, chemotherapy is used for a certain type of kidney cancer.
Kidney Cancer- Radiation Therapy
This treatment uses high-energy X-rays which can kill cancer cells and can halt the growth of the cells. External radiation therapy sends radiation to cancer via a machine outside the body.
How to Prevent Kidney Cancer?
There are certain factors which are linked to kidney cancer, you can take certain steps to lower the risk like quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, manage your blood pressure and avoid being exposed to harmful chemicals.