Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer cases are growing really fast. It is also referred as renal cancer.

This type of cancer generally affects the men in the age group of fifty to seventy years. The most common is renal cell carcinoma. The transitional cell carcinoma is the cancer of renal pelvis. The kidney cancer occuring in infants and children is known as Wilms tumor. The symptoms rarely go unnoticed and it is generally diagnosed when the patient is undergoing some other tests.

Causes

Though the exact causes for kidney cancer still remain unknown, certain risk factors can increase the possibility of the same. These causes include smoking, alcohol intake beyond recommended limits, improper diet, obesity, high blood pressure, etc. Genetic factors include von Hippel-Lindau disease, hereditary renal oncocytoma, papillary renal cell carcinoma, leiomyoma renal cell carcinoma, etc. Those undergoing dialysis for a long time are also at a higher risk of getting affected by this cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

In the early stages, kidney cancer generally would not show any symptoms. However, as it advances it may show a lump in the abdomen, continuous pain in the region below the ribs, blood in urine, weight loss, constant fever, fatigue, night sweats, bone pain, etc.

Diagnosis

Kidney cancer can be diagnosed by doing a routine blood and urine test. Ultrasound scan will be helpful in determining the changes in shape of the kidneys. In some cases a computerized tomography scan may be required. At times, the doctor may also suggest doing a biopsy to those who cannot be operated, or are at lowest risk of kidney cancer.

Treatment

The treatment will depend on the stage and type of cancer, patient’s overall health and the possible side effects that it may have. Surgery, immunotherapy, targeted therapy are some of the most preferred treatment options. The other options that the doctor may suggest include chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Sometimes, the oncologist may suggest a combination of treatments one after the another. Surgery may include radical or partial nephrectomy, radiofrequency ablation, cryoablation or laparoscopic surgery. These treatment often cause side effects and to provide relief from such side effects it is being approached in the form of palliative or supportive care. It addresses the physical, social and emotional needs of the patient.

Prevention

Though the exact reasons for occurence of kidney cancer are not fully understood, adopting a healthy lifestyle is one of the most effective ways to prevent it. Hypertension, high fat diet, obesity, etc., are known to increase the risk of kidney cancer. Eat a well balanced diet comprising fresh fruits and vegetables. Half an hour moderate intensity aerobic workout, or any other exercise that suits you are necessary to maintain a healthy weight. Quit smoking and keep the alcohol content to a minimum level to decrease the chances of developing kidney cancer. Avoid exposure to radiation and harsh chemicals, as it increases the risk of developing this cancer.

Though advanced treatments are available to cure kidney cancer, there is always a risk that it can prove to be fatal.

Therefore, take every little step you can to prevent kidney cancer.