Kidney Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnoses, Treatment & Prevention
Kidney cancer has been considered the sixth most common cancer for men and for women it is the eighth most common cancer. The number of diagnoses for kidney cancer has been reached to 73,750 among U.S adults. Not only this, but 14,830 deaths have been estimated to occur because of kidney cancer this year.
Cancer is a disease in which cells start to multiply and grow in an uncontrolled manner. When this disease affects your kidney and renal pelvis cancer it is called kidney cancer. As per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, every year around 40,000 men and 23,000 women suffer from kidney and renal pelvis cancer, and 9,000 men and 5,000 women die because of this disease.
What Are The Early Signs Of Kidney Cancer?
Usually, kidney cancer symptoms do not appear in the early stage but with the increase in the time, it might appear, such as:-
- Pink, red or cola coloured urine because of the presence of blood
- Loss of appetite
- A feeling of incurable pain in the back or side
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling tired
- Something blocking your bowel movement
- A mass of tissue in the kidney area or abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
How Do You Get Kidney Cancer?
There is not a clear vision or any specific reason for the cause of kidney cancer, but doctors came to know about some risk factors that increase the chance of developing kidney cancer. It has been found, such types of diseases do not occur just because of one single reason, collection of unhealthy habits contributes to kidney cancer, such as:-
- Old age: The risk of developing kidney cancer increases with the growing age
- Smoking: Kidney cancer risk is much higher for smokers as compared to non-smokers
- Hypertension: The chance of developing kidney cancer is greater for people having high blood pressure
- Obesity: People with a higher risk of kidney cancer have also been found suffering from obesity
- Kidney patients: People with long term dialysis for treating chronic kidney failure have a higher risk of developing kidney cancer.
- Certain inherited syndrome: Some people are born with some inherited syndrome, such as von Hippel-Lindau disease, tuberous sclerosis complex, Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome, hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma or familial renal cancer have a greater risk of developing kidney cancer.
- Family history: Some factors are not in anyone’s hand, thus if you have kidney cancer in your family you may be at risk of developing the disease too.
- Chemicals: Getting exposed to chemicals, such as trichloroethylene that is basically used to remove grease from metals also increases the risk of developing the disease.
How Kidney Cancer Is Diagnosed?
Kidney cancer diagnosis includes tests and procedures, such as:-
- Blood and urines tests: Examination of your blood and urine will give an idea to the doctor about the cause of the signs and symptoms within you.
- Imaging tests: Imaging tests include CT scan, X-ray, or MRI which gives a cross-sectional image of the organ identifying the presence of the tumour.
- Biopsy: It is a procedure in which the doctor removes a small sample of cells from the kidney in order to look for the signs and symptoms of cancer. This option for diagnosis is very rare.
Can You Be Cured From Kidney Cancer?
Treatment for kidney cancer depends on various factors, such as the stage of the disease. If the disease has been spread beyond the kidney the treatment may change according to the severity. Apart from severity, general health, and the kind of cancer treatment.
Surgery: The most common initial treatment for kidney cancer is surgery. The main motive behind the surgery is to remove cancer while preserving kidney function. The surgery that helps in the treatment of kidney cancer are:-
- Nephrectomy: It is a medical procedure in which the doctor removes the entire affected kidney, tissue, border of healthy tissues or other structures if he finds it necessary. Such procedures are performed through a single incision in the abdominal side(open nephrectomy) or by making a series of small incisions in the abdomen(laparoscopic or robotic-assisted laparoscopic nephrectomy).
- Partial nephrectomy: In this medical procedure the doctor will remove cancer along with a small layer of healthy tissue from the infected area rather than removing the entire kidney. Partial nephrectomy is common among people with mild kidney cancer or for people who have only one kidney.
Usually, partial nephrectomy is preferred over nephrectomy because living with one kidney can be very difficult for a human, such as it increases the risk of kidney disease and creates difficulty for your body to function well. Living with a single kidney is like you have to compromise with your usual activity with much more caution than before.
Nonsurgical treatment: In some kidney cancer cases, the cancer is small enough that it can be destroyed without surgery. This can be an option for people who are already suffering from other medical complications and might deteriorate their condition. Thus, options for nonsurgical treatment includes:-
- Cryoablation: During this procedure, a special hollow needle is inserted through your skin into the kidney tumour with the help of ultrasound or other imaging tests. Cold gas is present in the needle which helps in freezing the cancer cells.
- Radiofrequency ablation: In radiofrequency ablation, a special probe is inserted through your skin into the kidney tumour using an imaging technique, ultrasound. An electrical current is passed through the needle into the cancer cells leading the cells to heat up or burn.
In some complicated cases for kidney cancer, where cancer reappears even after the treatment or if it is difficult to control cancer from spreading advanced treatment may be required, which includes:-
- Surgery to remove as much as cancer cells from the kidney
- Some drugs target the specific cause of the growing cancer cells and can cause cancer cells to die
- Cancer cells produce proteins which helps them to hide from the immune system, immunotherapy for kidney cancer that works by interacting with that process making it visible for the immune system to take further actions
- Radiation therapy is another advanced method for eliminating cancer cells. A beam of UV rays, X-rays and protons are used to kill cancer cells that will help you to reduce the signs and symptoms of kidney cancer that might spread through other areas of the body.
- Clinical trials are also effective as such trials help in finding new and more effective ways to treat kidney cancer.
How Can I Prevent My Kidney From Cancer?
It is always good to take care of yourself, this will help you to reduce the risk of developing kidney cancer with some healthy habits, such as:-
- Quit Smoking: Smoking is considered the major cause of developing kidney cancer, thus if you have a habit of smoking or smoking up. Try quitting the habit of smoking, if you want you can take the help of your doctor in this.
- Healthy weight: A relation between obesity and kidney cancer has been found. Thus, try to maintain a healthy weight.
- Control high blood pressure: Hypertension is also one of the causes of developing kidney cancer. Therefore, if you have high blood pressure, try to maintain it in a controlled way. Healthy habits, such as exercise, weight loss diet, and quality sleep will help you to control your blood pressure.