The kidneys are a pair of organs situated at the back of your abdomen. They filter blood to remove bodily waste, which they convert into urine. From your kidneys, urine is carried into the bladder via a tube (ureter). When your bladder is full of liquid, urine passes out of your body through a tube (urethra). The urethra opens at the tip of the penis in men and immediately in front of the vagina in women.
Kidney cancer affects more men than women and occurs most commonly during and after middle age, though there is a rare type that affects children (known as nephroblastoma). This will explain why so little recoginition has been given to the genetics and histology of renal carcinomas, until recently. Indeed, the last 10 years have produced major advancements in understanding the causes of kidney cancer, including the genetic basis.
Researchers have found that as with most cancers, smoking cigarettes will statistically increase your risk of maturing a cancer of the kidney. Additionally, kidney cancer occurrence has been linked to occupational exposure to toxic materials and metals. For instance, exposure to cadmium, asbestos, and lead-based industrial paints increases one’s risk of developing the disease. Furthermore, there are specific medical conditions, such as obesity, chronic kidney failure, diabetes, or hypertension (which is to say: high blood pressure), which also increase peoples’ risk of developing cancer of the kidney.
There is also a small segment of the population with an inherited condition known as Von Hippel-Lindau Syndrome (a multi-system disorder characterized by abnormal blood vessel growth) that have, as a result, a somewhat increased risk of developing kidney cancer. From time to time, certain types of kidney cancer can also occur in two or more members of the same family. Regular consultations with a medical doctor and screening tests are essential for people with a family history of kidney cancer.
Table of Contents
Types of Kidney Cancer:
There are various different kinds of kidney cancer. The most usual is renal cell carcinoma (RCC), also known as renal adenocarcinoma or renal hypernephroma. In RCC, the malignant cells originate in the lining (epithelium) of the kidney’s tubules. It starts in the renal tubules, which are part of the small tubes in the kidney that filter blood and remove waste products to make urine. Renal cell carcinoma accounts for about 90% to 95% of all kidney cancers.
Transitional cell carcinoma starts in the renal pelvis, which carries urine from each kidney into two tubes called ureters that go to the bladder. This type of cancer is more common in people who smoke cigarettes or cigars or use chewing tobacco. Transitional cell carcinoma accounts for about 4% of all kidney cancers.
In Adults, the most occurred type of kidney cancer is Renal cell cancer. This type is often called renal adenocarcinoma or hypernephroma.
Wilms tumour is generally a kind of childhood kidney cancer. It is dissimilar from adult kidney cancer which requires totally different diagnosis.
There are also various types of RCC categorised in accordance with the particular attribute of the cancer cells. These comprise clear cell (the very regular kind of RCC), chromophilic or papillary, chromophobic, oncocytic, collecting duct and sarcomatoid carcinoma. About 6-7% of kidney cancers originate in the renal pelvis, at the point where the kidney joins the ureter. These are known as transitional cell carcinomas. Wilms Tumour is a rare form of kidney cancer that affects children, usually between the ages of two and five.
Lymph nodes cancer if found due to often kidney cancer cell are expanded and spread out of the kidneys. It is not restricted to only Lymph nodes kidney cancer cells can also spread to nearby areas also like lungs, bones, or liver. And also can spread from one kidney to the other.
When cancer cell spreads from its source location to another or another host part of your body, the new tumour has the like type of abnormal cells and the same name as the primary tumour. For instance, when kidney cancer spreads to the lungs, the cancer cells in the lungs are original of kidney cancer cells. The infection is metastatic kidney cancer, not lung cancer. It is diagnosed as kidney cancer, instead of lung cancer. Doctors often call the new tumour metastatic or “distant” disease.
Risk Factors for Kidney Cancer:
Kidney cancer is most found among people over the age of 40. The causes are not yet fully identified but some factors have been identified as increasing a person’s risk of developing kidney cancer.
- Vulnerability to certain chemicals in the workstation
- Patients undergoing kidney dialysis
- People affected by specific inherited diseases have an increased risk of developing kidney cancer.
- These include: Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) Syndrome,
- Birt-Hogg-Dube Syndrome,
- Hereditary Non-VHL Clear Cell Renal Cell Cancer and
- Hereditary Papillary Renal Cell Cancer.
In the early stages of kidney cancer, there are often no obvious symptoms or they are so mild that they are overlooked. Unfortunately, this means that by the time symptoms are evident, the disease may have progressed and be more difficult to treat.
Symptoms of Kidney cancers:
In its beginning period, kidney cancer usually causes no visible hint or problematic symptoms. Gradually a kidney tumour spreads, symptoms start to occur. These may include:
- Blood in the urine. In few cases, blood is visible. In other traces of blood are detected in a urinalysis which is a lab test performed as part of a regular medical check-up.
- Pain in the side that persist and reoccur everytime
- A lump or mass in the kidney area.
Other less frequent occurred symptoms are:
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of Weight
- Recurrent fevers
- Persistent Pain in the side and continue
- General feeling of poor health
High blood pressure or a lower than a normal number of red blood cells in the blood (anemia) may also signal kidney cancer. These symptoms occur less frequently.
Procedure for Diagnosis of Kidney Cancer:
If you has symptoms that indicate kidney cancer, the doctor may advise to get checked for one or more of the following tests:
- Physical exam: The doctor inspects general symptoms of health and tests for fever and high blood pressure. The doctor also check the abdomen and side for tumours.
- Urine tests: A urine test can show if there are abnormal cells in the urine or if there is a protein in the urine. But these tests are not accurate enough to say for sure that someone has kidney cancer.
- Blood tests: If a person has kidney cancer, they may have higher than normal levels of certain substances in their blood. For example, certain kidney cancers make a substance called GFR (glomerular filtration rate), which measures how well the kidneys filter waste from the blood. A high level of this substance may mean that a person has kidney cancer. Another substance called alkaline phosphatase can be higher than normal in people with bone metastases (spread of cancer to the bones).
- Intravenous pyelogram (IVP): The doctor infuses dye into a vein in the arm. The dye flows through the body and collects in the kidneys. The dye show up on x-rays. A series of x-rays then shows and identify the dye as it travels through the kidneys to the ureters and bladder. The x-rays can show a kidney tumour.
- CT scan (CAT scan): A CT scan uses x-rays and a computer to make detailed pictures of the body. A CT scan can show any abnormal areas in the kidney. Sometimes dye injected into a vein (intravenous, or IV) may be used during the CT scan to help better outline abnormal areas in the kidney(s).
- Biopsy: In a biopsy, the tissues of canceled cells are removed by the doctor from the source. The procedure includes an insertion of a thin needle through the skin into the kidney to remove a small amount of tissue. The doctor may use ultrasound or x-rays to guide the needle. A pathologist then tests it to look for cancer cells in the tissue.
- Surgery: In most cases, based on the results of the CT scan, ultrasound, and x-rays, in the surgery doctor remove part or all of the kidney.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: An MRI scan uses powerful magnets and radio waves to make detailed pictures of organs and tissues inside the body. An MRI scan can show any abnormal areas in the kidney. Sometimes dye injected into a vein (intravenous, or IV) may be used during an MRI scan
Individualized Treatment Plans Are Essential to Cure Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancer treatment plans must be individualized and take into account a patients’ age, general health, family history, and medical condition. It’s essential to identify the type and size of your tumour and whether or not it has begun to spread beyond the tissues of your kidney.
In many cases, the best surgical remedy for cancer of the kidney is laparoscopic nephrectomy, a minimally invasive and complete removal of a kidney performed by a urologist. The urologist will typically remove the entire affected kidney, along with surrounding tissues. Of course, having a kidney removed is a major operation and prospect patients need to be reasonably fit to qualify. Because of the physical stress, even minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery might not be fit for everybody.
Generally, if a tumour is small in size, the surgeon might only have to eliminate the tumor and the part of the kidney nearby it. This is known as partial nephrectomy.
A nomogram is a predictive tool for patients and physicians designed to help decide which treatment options are most suitable for the patient. It is a series of computerized devices that can be used in men who are at risk for kidney cancer, as well as those already diagnosed with the disease.
Survival Rate of Recovery:
The picture is a bit different these days. A cure has been discovered which is sure to make the kidney cancer survival rate higher than before. This cure was discovered through a clinical trial. Blood tests that are normally done for the purpose of testing filtration are not very accurate and therefore, may lead to the wrong conclusions.
The kidney cancer survival rate depends on the stage at which the cancer is and what the chances are of the cancer being diagnosed. A cancer which is at higher stage will definitely lead to a far lower kidney cancer survival rate. Almost 53% of the Cancer cases are found once the cells have spread further than the kidney while 1 in 5 is diagnosed in that condition.
Precaution after Diagnosis:
If you have one kidney removed, you will suffer no ill-effects as long as the other kidney is working normally. For good kidney health, the following advice should be followed:
- If you are a smoker, try to stop smoking
- Reduce your protein intake by avoiding excessive consumption of meat and fish, eggs, dairy products, beans and lentils.
- Cut down the intake of salt in your diet
- Avoid excessive doses of vitamin C in supplement form
- Keep your alcohol consumption to a moderate level
- Drink plenty of water