Kidney Cancer – Outcomes, Symptoms, Causes
In my medical career, I have come across many cases of cancer. It can happen to anyone and affect different parts of the body, including the kidneys. Kidneys are part of the urinary system that helps in removing waste from the body and filter the blood.
Kidney Cancer is one of the major global health risks that affects people silently. Across the globe, 1 in 63 people get afflicted with kidney cancer. Before letting this quiet disease conquer your health, you must look for signs and symptoms to detect it early!
How many types of Kidney Cancer are there?
Cancer with the highest incidence in adults is Renal Cell Carcinoma that develops in the lining of the renal tubules, accounting for 85% of kidney and ureter cancers. Second comes Urothelial Carcinoma that develops in the renal pelvis, representing 5-10% of total kidney cancer cases. Last but not least is Wilms tumor that affects children and makes up 1% of the kidney cancers.
What are the root causes of kidney cancer?
The reasons for kidney cancer development can be genetic, environmental, or behavioral. It is difficult to estimate the exact cause but the risk factors can be taken into account in the process of treatment. The risk of any cancer increases with age and that’s why kidney cancer is seen in > 60 years age range.
Smoking and Obesity are the two main modifiable risk factors, while others are high blood pressure, rare genetic diseases, prolonged dialysis treatment, and family history of kidney cancer.
The Symptoms you need to know about..
Kidney cancer is a progressive disease that can be detected only at an advanced stage. Most often, the symptoms do not appear at an early stage and cancer may be detected incidentally in scans done for some other ailment.
As and when the cancer grows, symptoms may develop, like blood in urine, fatigue, pain in the back or side, loss of appetite, sudden weight loss, fever and anemia. However, Metastatic Kidney Cancer may cause other symptoms, like difficulty in breathing, hemoptysis, muscle and bone pain.
What treatment options are available?
Kidney cancers are one of the 10 most common cancers affecting about 1 in every 48 men and 1 in every 83 women. Though Kidney Cancers are often detected late, they have very high cure rates as even advanced cancers respond well to treatment.
After cancer gets detected during a scan, it is crucial to immediately look for treatment options. Surgery is the first step and includes removal of parts affected with tumors. For patients who cannot undergo surgery, I suggest thermal ablation, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy as they reduce chances of complications.
What are the Outcomes of Kidney Cancer Treatment?
Everyone knows about the side-effects of cancer! Although they can stop, few patients may experience long-term effects like chronic pain from surgical scar, infertility, hypertension, brain and spinal cord problems, etc. One should consult their doctor about the risk of developing such side effects based on the type of cancer, their treatment plan, and overall health.
As an Oncologist, I suggest proper diagnosis and treatment plan to fight your battle with the Big C in the best possible manner!