Renal cell cancer (RCC)
Renal cell cancer is the most common type of kidney cancer found in adults. Renal cell cancer develops in the lining of tubules in the kidney that clean the blood and is one of the fastest growing cancers that can spread in the lungs and other organs quickly. Fortunately, those people diagnosed with renal cell cancer have higher chances of recovery as it can be detected early before it spreads to other regions.
Many factors are associated with the disease, however the exact reason behind getting it is still not known. It usually occurs between the ages of 50 to 70. The risk factors are:
- Dialysis treatment
- Family history of similar disease
- Smoking tobacco
- Other kidney disease
- Genetic disorders
- Excessive use of certain drugs
At an early stage, it is difficult to be diagnosed as the patient may be symptom free. However, if progresses, it may include several symptoms that can help in diagnosis of the disease. These symptoms are
- Blood in the urine
- A lump in the abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Vision issues
- Regular pain in one side
- Excessive hair growth
The doctor can do medical tests after witnessing the symptoms to make sure whether you are diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma or any other disease. Medical tests such as complete blood count, CT scan, ultrasound, urine test and biopsy can help the doctor in the diagnosis. He can also ask for your and your family’s past medical history.PET scan, chest X-ray and bone scan are some tests that will help him find out if the cancer has spread to other organs as well.
Different types of procedures can be used to treat renal cell cancer, depending on the stage of the cancer, age and medical condition of the patient. Treatment options are:
Surgery: Several methods of surgery can be conducted to remove the tumor from the kidney. For example, partial nephrectomy is used to remove a part of the kidney that is infected. Total nephrectomy is performed to remove the entire kidney and radical nephrectomy is performed if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and adrenal glands.
Radiation therapy: This procedure involves using high energy radiation waves to destroy the cancer cells given by an external machine. This procedure may last for a few days.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy refers to the use of certain drugs given to the patient to kill the cancerous cells and stop their growth. It can be given either through intravenous tubes (IV tubes) or mouth. The kind of medicines used depends on the stage of cancer.
Biological therapy: This method involves increasing the strength of your immune system to attack the cancer, which is done by creating artificial enzymes.
Targeted therapy: Another way to treat renal cell cancer where drugs are given to target the cancer cells without damaging the healthy cells.
There are certain complications arise after you are treated with any of the above methods.
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Bleeding or bruising
- Mouth sores
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chronic pain
These are some of those treatment side effects that you may experience.
Post operative care
Follow up care of kidney cancer treatment may last for a lifetime. It is necessary for you to feel strong both physically and mentally. This can be achieved by eating healthy diet, regular exercising, regular check ups with the doctor and getting all the support you need, from your family, your friends or any other support group.
Watch for the signs of cancer coming back as explained by the doctor.