Kidney Cancer

What is Kidney :

The kidneys– bean shaped, fist sized soldiers in the lower abdomen, play the key role in urinary system of the human body. Vital functions of kidneys being cleansing of blood, removal of excess water an thus producing urine. The fatty tissues and Gerota’s fascia- a fibrous tissue protectively enclose the kidney and the adrenal gland.

What is Cancer ?

When new cells do not form when needed and old cells do not die when they should, then this deformity in the body turns into either benign tumors (not life-threatning, removed easily) or malignant tumours (spread easily, recoccur, life-threatening).
However, if detected at early stages, easily curable. Now-a-days, treatments are available even for later stage cancers.

Beware :

Science has not yet been able to pin point, here are some commonly known causes that makes an individual more susceptible to kidney cancer.

  • Smoking cigars, cigarettes, hokaahs, etc makes one twice susceptible.
  • BMI ie if you have a poor body mass index ie obese, overweight causes abnormality in one’s hormones.
  • Over Dosage of pain medicines.
  • Hereditary, yes, kidney cancer can be genetically passed on.
  • Genetic Conditions, namely von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease.
  • Kidney dialysis essentially keeps up the functions of the kidney, incase of failed or damaged kidneys. Long-term dialysis patients are highly susceptible.
  • Males are on the higher side of susceptibility than females.
  • Lack of personal hygiene.
  • Occupational Hazards involving exposure to harmful chemicals like asbestos, cadmium, benzene, organic solvents, or certain herbicides.
  • High Blood Pressure patients.
  • Lymphoma.

When to approach your Urologist ?

  • Blood passing through urine.
  • Constant fevers without any known source of infection.
  • Frequent pain in the lower back, waist or abdomen.
  • Sudden weight loss.
  • Early fatigue.
  • Formation of abdominal lumps.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Pertaining swelling of ankles and legs.
  • At later stage of cancer:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Bone pain

Types Of Kidney/Renal Cancer :

  • Transitional cell carcinoma, cells in certain part of a kidney ( almost always in the tubular linings) turn malignant, and begin to spread and start form a tumor.
  • Hypernephroma/ adenocarcinoma, is the kidney cancer type that is seen commonly in adults mostly above 40 years of age.
  • In children, Wilms tumor is seen to commonly occur.

Kidney Cancer Diagnosis :

  • Physical examination
  • Urine tests
  • Blood test
  • Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)
  • CT scan
  • Ultrasound test:
  • Biopsy
  • Surgery

Stages Of Kidney Cancer

  • Stage I: Cancer cells limited to kidney. Size of tumor – 7cms (2 ¾ inches )
  • Stage II: Cancer cells limited to kidney. Size of tumor – more than 7cms.
  • Stage III: Tumor spread to any one of the following:
    A nearby lymph node.
    A adrenal gland, and beyond but limited to the protective layer of fatty and
    fibrous tissues.
    A nearby lymph as well as nearby main blood vessel of the kidney.

Treatment For Kidney Cancer
Surgery:

  • Partial nephrectomy (removing part of the kidney) for stage 1.
  • Radical nephrectomy (removing the entire kidney) for stage 2.
  • Additionally, for stage 3,
  • Removal of affected, enlarged lymphnode.
  • Cut open and remove tumor cells of affected veins to remove all of the cancer.
  • Stage IV: Cancer cells begin to spread to any one of the following:
    A lymph node as well spread beyond the fatty and fibrous layer of tissue around the kidney.
    More than one nearby lymph nodes.
    Surrounding organs like pancreas, bowels or lungs. It may also be found in nearby lymph
    nodes.

Recurrent cancer :
Reoccurance of cancer in the kidney or any other part of the body.

Treatment :

Surgery if possible, otherwise targeted therapy, palliative treatments (embolization/ radiation), immunotherapy, cytokinetherapy, chemotherapy, clinical trials.

Combination of all of the above treatments can be combined with, post- surgery treatments like arterial embolization (shrink tumor) , radiation therapy, biological therapy(immune system), or chemotherapy.

Pre-Surgery :

  • Aviod aspirin or blood-thinning medications.
  • To avoid vomiting, do not eat or drink.

Aternative Therapies :

  • Often supportive care is required to ease emotional upheaval.
  • Regular follow-up with your doctor is utmost important post-treatment.