Kidney Cancer: Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

kidney cancer

Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that are the size of a fist apiece. One kidney is on each side of your spine, and they are behind your abdominal organs. Kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer, is a disease in which the cells of the kidneys become malignant (cancerous) and grow out of control, resulting in a tumour. 

The most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Other forms of kidney cancer, which are not more prevalent, can, also occur. Wilms’ tumour is a kind of kidney cancer that we see in young children. 

Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

  1. Urine with blood (a condition called hematuria).
  2. A lump or mass in the vicinity of the kidneys.
  3. A nagging ache in the side.
  4. Tiredness.
  5. A general feeling of being unwell.
  6. Appetite or weight loss
  7. Fever of a low intensity.
  8. Bone ache.
  9. Hypertension (high blood pressure).

Risk Factors

  1. Obesity: RCC is more likely to develop in those who are overweight. Obesity can lead to alterations in hormones, which can contribute to RCC.
  2. Smoking: Renal cell carcinoma is more likely to occur in smokers. The increase in the risk appears to have a link with the number of cigarettes consumed.
  3. Sex: RCC affects around twice as many males as it does women. Men are more likely to smoke.
  4. Medication: According to some research, high doses of acetaminophen, a common pain reliever, may increase the risk of renal cell carcinoma.
  5. Family history: Renal cell carcinoma is more likely to occur in people who have a strong family history of the disease. 
  6. Workplace exposure: Exposure to specific toxins in the workplace, such as trichloroethylene, increases the risk of RCC.
  7. High blood pressure: People with high blood pressure are more likely to get kidney cancer. Even if someone is taking medication to control high blood pressure, this risk does not appear to be reduced.

Types of Kidney Cancer

  1. Renal cell carcinoma: It is the most frequent kind of adult kidney cancer, accounting for over 85% of cases. Proximal renal tubules that make up the kidney’s filtration system, where this type of cancer arises.
  2. Urothelial carcinoma: Transitional cell carcinoma is another name for this type of cancer. It is responsible for 5% to 10% of all kidney malignancies identified in adulthood. Urothelial carcinoma begins in the renal pelvis, the part of the kidney where urine collects before going to the bladder.
  3. Sarcoma: Kidney sarcoma is an uncommon cancer. This type of cancer takes place in the kidney’s soft tissue, the capsule a thin layer of connective tissue that covers the kidney, or the surrounding fat.
  4. Wilm’s tumour: Usually seen in children

Stages of Kidney Cancer

First stage: The tumour is exclusively in the kidney and is 7 cm wide or smaller. It hasn’t spread to lymph nodes or other areas of the body

Second stage: The tumour has grown to a diameter of more than 7 cm but is still solely in the kidney. It hasn’t spread to lymph nodes or other areas of the body.

Third Stage: The tumour has spread to important blood arteries such as the renal vein and inferior vena cava, as well as surrounding tissue and lymph nodes.

Fourth stage: Outside of the kidney, the tumour has progressed to the adrenal gland, distant lymph nodes, and other organs.

Diagnosis of Kidney Cancer

The following tests and methods are used to diagnose kidney cancer:

  1. Urine and blood testing: Blood and urine tests can help doctor figure out what’s causing signs and symptoms.
  2. Imaging examinations: A kidney tumour or abnormality can be visualized via imaging techniques. Ultrasound, X-ray, CT, and MRI are examples of imaging tests.
  3. Biopsy: Doctor may suggest a procedure to take a small sample of cells (biopsy) from a questionable spot of kidney in some cases. 

Treatment

Kidney cancer that returns after therapy or that spread to other regions of the body may not be cured. Treatments may aid in the control of the cancer and the maintenance of your comfort. In these cases, therapy options may include:

  1. Surgery: This is the usual course of action. Removal of the affected kidney or just the tumour from a part of the kidney is done.

Prevention of Kidney Cancer

Taking action to enhance your health can lower your chances of developing kidney cancer. To lower your risk, attempt to do the following:

  1. Give up smoking: Quit smoking if you’re a smoker. Support groups, medications, and nicotine replacement products are just a few of the choices for quitting smoking. Inform your doctor if you want to quit, and the two of you will discuss your choices.
  2. Keep a healthy weight: Maintain healthy body weight. Reduce the number of calories consumed each day if you’re overweight or obese and aim to be physically active most days of the week.

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