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Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer is a cancer that begins in the kidneys. Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that are roughly the size of your fist. They are located on each side of your spine, one behind your abdominal organs.

Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of adult kidney cancer.Other types of kidney cancer that are less common can occur. Wilms' tumour, a type of kidney cancer, is more common in young children.

Kidney cancer appears to be becoming more common. One reason for this could be the increased use of imaging techniques such as computerised tomography (CT) scans.These tests could lead to the unintentional discovery of new kidney cancers.Kidney cancer is frequently detected at an early stage, when it is small and confined to the kidney.

Symptoms

There are usually no signs or symptoms of kidney cancer in its early stages. Signs and symptoms may emerge over time, including:

  • Urine containing blood, which may appear pink, red, or cola-colored
  • Pain in the back or side that does not go away
  • Appetite loss
  • Unknown cause of weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Fever

Risk elements

The following factors can increase the risk of kidney cancer:

  • Getting older - As you get older, your chances of developing kidney cancer rise.
  • Smoking - Smokers are more likely to develop kidney cancer than nonsmokers. After you quit, the risk decreases.
  • Obesity - Obese people are more likely to develop kidney cancer than people who are considered to be of a healthy weight.
  • Blood Pressure - Blood pressure is high (hypertension). High blood pressure raises your chances of developing kidney cancer.
  • Kidney failure treatment - People who receive long-term dialysis for chronic kidney failure are more likely to develop kidney cancer.
  • Several Inherited Syndromes- People who are born with certain inherited syndromes, such as von Hippel-Lindau disease, Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex, hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma, or familial renal cancer,may be at a higher risk of developing kidney cancer.
  • Kidney cancer runs in the family. If close family members have had kidney cancer, the risk increases.

Prevention

Improving your health may help lower your risk of kidney cancer. Try the following to reduce your risk:

  • Stop smoking. Quit smoking if you smoke. There are numerous ways to quit smoking, including support groups, medications, and nicotine replacement products. Inform your doctor that you want to quit and discuss your options with him or her.
  • Keep a healthy weight. Maintain a healthy body weight. Reduce the number of calories you consume each day and try to be physically active most days of the week if you are overweight or obese. Inquire with your doctor about other healthy weight-loss strategies.
  • Control high blood pressure. Always request that your blood pressure be checked at your next appointment. If your blood pressure is high, you can talk about ways to lower it. Exercise, weight loss, and dietary changes can all be beneficial. Some people may need to take additional medications to control their blood pressure. Consult your doctor about your options.

Diagnosis

Urine and blood tests Blood and urine tests may provide your doctor with information about what's causing your signs and symptoms.

Imaging examinations Imaging tests enable your doctor to see a kidney tumour or other abnormality. Ultrasound, X-ray, CT, or MRI are examples of imaging tests.

Taking a kidney tissue sample (biopsy). In some cases, your doctor may advise you to have a small sample of cells (biopsy) taken from a suspicious area of your kidney. The sample is examined in a lab for signs of cancer. This procedure is not always necessary.

Staging of kidney cancer

Once your doctor has identified a kidney lesion that may be cancer, the next step is to determine the cancer's extent (stage). Additional CT scans or other imaging tests as determined by your doctor may be used in the staging of kidney cancer.

Kidney cancer stages are denoted by Roman numerals ranging from I to IV, with the lowest stages indicating cancer confined to the kidney. By stage IV, the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body and is considered advanced.

Treatment

The first step in treating kidney cancer is usually surgery to remove the cancer.. This may be the only treatment required for cancers of the kidney. Additional treatments may be recommended if the cancer has spread beyond the kidney.

You and your treatment team can discuss your kidney cancer treatment options together. The best approach for you may be determined by a variety of factors, including your overall health, the type of kidney cancer you have, whether the cancer has spread, and your treatment preferences.

Surgery

The most common initial treatment for kidney cancer is surgery. When possible, the goal of surgery is to remove the cancer while preserving normal kidney function. Kidney cancer is treated using the following procedures:

Taking out the affected kidney (nephrectomy). A complete (radical) nephrectomy involves the removal of the entire kidney, a border of healthy tissue, and, in some cases, additional nearby tissues such as lymph nodes, the adrenal gland, or other structures.

A nephrectomy can be performed through a single incision in the abdomen or side (open nephrectomy) or through a series of small incisions in the abdomen (keyhole nephrectomy) (laparoscopic or robotic-assisted laparoscopic nephrectomy).

The removal of the kidney tumour (partial nephrectomy). The surgeon removes the cancer and a small margin of healthy tissue that surrounds it rather than the entire kidney in kidney-sparing or nephron-sparing surgery. It can be performed openly, laparoscopically, or with robotic assistance.

Kidney-sparing surgery is a common treatment for small kidney cancers, and if you only have one kidney, it may be an option. To preserve kidney function and reduce the risk of later complications, such as kidney disease and the need for dialysis, kidney-sparing surgery is generally preferred over a complete nephrectomy when possible.

The type of surgery recommended by your doctor will be determined by the stage of your cancer as well as your overall health.

Nonsurgical therapies

Nonsurgical treatments, such as heat and cold, are sometimes used to destroy small kidney cancers. These procedures may be an option in some cases, such as for people who have other health issues that make surgery risky.

Cancer cell freezing therapy (cryoablation).

Using ultrasound or other image guidance, a special hollow needle is inserted through your skin and into the kidney tumour during cryoablation. The cancer cells are frozen using cold gas in the needle.

Heat treatment for cancer cells (radiofrequency ablation).

During radiofrequency ablation, a special probe is inserted through your skin and into the kidney tumour, guided by ultrasound or other imaging. A current is passed through the needle and into the cancer cells, causing them to heat up or burn.

Advanced and recurring kidney cancer treatments

Kidney cancer that returns after treatment or spreads to other parts of the body may not be curable. Treatments may assist in controlling the cancer and keeping you comfortable. Treatments in these cases may include:

The kidney cancer is removed as much as possible during surgery. If the cancer cannot be completely removed during an operation, surgeons may work to remove as much of it as possible. Cancer that has spread to another part of the body may also be removed surgically.

Therapy that is targeted.

Targeted drug treatments target specific abnormalities found in cancer cells.

Immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy makes use of your immune system to combat cancer. Because cancer cells produce proteins that aid in their concealment from immune system cells, your body's disease-fighting immune system may fail to recognise and attack your cancer. Immunotherapy works by disrupting that process.

Radiation treatment.

Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by delivering high-energy beams from sources such as X-rays and protons. Radiation therapy is occasionally used to control or alleviate symptoms of kidney cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones and brain.