Kidney cancer or renal cancer develops in kidney cells, making them cancerous and allows them to grow uncontrollably that forms a tumor. This type of cancer appears first in the lining of tiny tubes called tubules in the kidney. The best thing about this cancer is it is often found before it metastise (spread to other regions). However, in certain cases, it can become quite large before it is detected.
Causes of Kidney cancer
Doctors have yet to find the exact reason behind kidney cancer, but studies found out that people over 40 are more prone to this defect. Other notable factors are:
- Smoking tobacco
- Being fat
- Consuming pain drugs for a long time
- Having other kidney conditions
- Having certain genetic conditions
- Exposure to certain chemical
- High blood pressure
- Having lymphoma
It is also noted that men have a much higher chances of developing kidney cancer than women.
Diagnosing Kidney Cancer
Looking for signs and symptoms of kidney cancer can help a person or the doctor diagnose the condition and make certain measures to stop the growth of cancerous cells. These symptoms can be:
- Blood in the urine
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Swelling in the ankles or legs
- Side pain that doesn’t go away
- A lump on the side
Certain medical tests such as a urine test, blood test, CT scan, MRI, Ultrasound and renal arteriogram conducted by your doctor can also help you know if you are diagnosed with kidney cancer. These tests can also find out if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body or not.
Treatment of Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancer treatment starts after your doctor know the stage of your cancer and thoroughly explaining you the results of the tests. The options are
- Surgery: Surgical procedure refers to the removal of the entire tumor from the kidney, the adrenal gland and the surrounding tissues. It is performed by a surgeon and basically consist of three types – Radical nephrectomy, simple nephrectomy, partial nephrectomy.
- Radiation therapy: This is an appropriate option for those who cannot undergo surgical procedure. This treatment involves the use of high energy radiation beams to kill the cancer cells and stop their growth. External radiation therapy sends the beam to the tumor from an outside machine.
- Chemotherapy: This treatment option uses anti-cancer drugs to destroy the cancerous cells. It is less effective than other types of kidney cancer treatment and mainly used for a special kind of kidney cancer called sarcomatoid variant.
- Other notable treatment options are targeted therapy, biological therapy, cryotherapy, radiofrequency ablation and arterial embolization.
Complications of kidney cancer treatment are as follows:
- Skin damage
- Nausea and vomiting
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Hand-foot syndrome
- Increased heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
Post operative care
In order to see if the treatment is going well, you will be required to visit your doctor after 4-6 weeks of the treatment. If the risk of cancer coming back is low, you may need these check ups for a few years. These check ups will consist chest x-ray and other tests every 3 months.
Examination of your lymph nodes and abdomen through ultrasound or CT scan will be done to see any signs of cancer.
Diet will be of utmost importance in treating kidney cancer. Your dietitian may advise you to increase your protein consumption.
Living a healthy life is the key to curing kidney cancer, so if you smoke, quit smoking for good. Start some modest exercise every day to cope up with fatigue