Kidney cancer means having a malignant tumor in the kidneys. The kidneys are two vital organs of the human body, having the shape of beans. Each of the kidneys is about the size of your fist.
Kidneys are located on each side of your spine behind your abdominal organs. The most common type of kidney cancer in adults is renal cell carcinoma, which is a cancerous tumor in 90 percent of cases.
In most cases, the diagnosis of kidney cancer starts with an ultrasound when the patient complains about abdominal pain. During the ultrasound process, the radiologist can see the tumor in the kidney.
Once the tumor is found, further investigations start with blood tests, CT scans, or MRIs of the KUB Region. An Ultrasound or CT Biopsy is done to confirm the nature of the tumor. If the tumor is malignant, whole-body PET CT is done to confirm the severity of the cancer. It is crucial to find out whether the tumor is confined to the kidneys or has spread to other parts of the body.
Out of all cases of cancer, kidney cancer has a share of 3 percent. The most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma. This kind of cancer is more familiar in the USA than in India. Normally it grows slowly, but in some cases, it behaves aggressively and causes life risk.
The most common kidney cancer treatment includes surgery, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. Sometimes a combination of all these treatments is prescribed.
Chemotherapy and Radiation therapy are occasionally used in kidney cancer. Spread-out kidney cancer is called metastatic cancer, which often needs multiple types of therapies.
Kidney Cancer Causes
There is no proven cause of kidney cancer to date. However, it is certain environmental risk factors are associated with this disease. These include smoking, exposure to cadmium, asbestos, etc.
It is seen to have hereditary/ genetic prejudice. Aso, kidney cancer is more common in males and older people of ages 60 to 70years. It is also seen in individuals with a lack of exercise and obesity.
Kidney Cancer Symptoms
- Clinical symptoms are mostly connected to preliminary tumors i.e. haematuria. It includes blood in urine, flank pain, and mass in the abdomen.
- Some patients have weight loss and unexplained fever. They also show features of hypercalcemia i.e. high calcium levels in the blood.
- In the advanced stage of the disease, patients may complain of pain in the bones.
- Backache occurs due to bone metastasis, while lung spread the cause cough/ breathing difficulty
- Some rare symptoms include headache, vomiting, and brain metastasis. In some cases, patients have Anemia and fatigue
Diagnosis with Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancer patients need a complete staging of procedures to arrange the line of treatment. This multidisciplinary approach provides satisfactory results for an individual case. It needs a good physical examination along with complete blood tests. The tests include haemograms, blood chemistry, and radiological imaging like ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. The histological opinion is to be verified by FNAC/ trust biopsy.
Management of Kidney Cancer
Renal cell carcinoma or kidney cancer management has been improved in recent times, especially for advanced-stage disease or recurrent RCC. In the early stage, when the tumor remains localized and does not spread to other organs in the body, it is managed better with radical surgery. It is remedial in the majority of patients.
Radiation is another kind of treatment that is prescribed for a very selective group of patients. Kidney cancer (RCC) is known as radio-resistant and chemoresistant which gets a very poor response to radiation.
Latest kidney Cancer Treatment
Kidney cancer treatment in India has revolutionized due to advanced medical research. With advanced research in molecular oncology, there is a better understanding of cancer cell growth and its related growth factors/receptor interactions. An important enzyme called tyrosine kinase and Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) is very much involved in cancer cell proliferation. Kidney cancer also expresses vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF), which play a crucial role in cancer metastasis.
With all modern therapies, patients with kidney cancer are living much longer than before. Scientists have given a new approach to a difficult disease like kidney cancer. Also the new drugs are more effective with milder side effects and better survival rates.