How to Identify Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

Treatment of Kidney Disease - NU Hospitals

Kidneys are vital organs responsible for filtering blood and regulating fluid balance. Kidney cancer is a malignancy that originates in the kidneys and is often asymptomatic in its early stages. The most frequent type of kidney cancer in adults is renal cell carcinoma, while kidney cancer that is more common in young children is Wilms' tumor.

Symptoms of kidney cancer

 Lower Back Pain - NU Hospitals

Kidney cancer can manifest various symptoms, including:

Blood in Urine (Hematuria): One of the most common signs of kidney cancer, hematuria causes urine to appear pink, red, or brown, indicating bleeding within the urinary tract.

Back Pain: Persistent and localized discomfort in the side or lower back may result from the tumor pressing on nerves or surrounding organs.

Flank Mass: A palpable lump or swelling in the abdomen or flank area can be a sign of an enlarged kidney due to a tumor.

Fatigue: General weakness and exhaustion may occur as the cancer progresses and the body's energy resources are diverted towards the tumor.

Weight Loss: Unintended weight loss can be an indicator of advanced kidney cancer, as the disease negatively affects metabolism and appetite.

Fever and Night Sweats: Some individuals experience fever and night sweats as the immune system responds to the cancer.

High Blood Pressure: Kidney tumors can lead to hypertension as they may disrupt the regulation of arterial blood pressure.

Causes of kidney cancer

Man smoking a cigarette - NU Hospitals

Kidney cancer typically develops due to complex interactions between genetic and environmental factors. While the precise causes are not always clear, several key factors have been associated with an increased risk of kidney cancer such as:

Smoking: Smoking cigarettes has been linked to a higher risk of developing kidney cancer. Tobacco smoke contains harmful chemicals that may affect the kidneys and increase the likelihood of cancerous growths.

Obesity: Obese and overweight individuals are associated with a heightened risk of developing kidney cancer. Excess body fat can lead to hormonal changes and inflammation, potentially promoting the development of tumors in the kidneys.

High Blood Pressure: Chronic hypertension can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys and may contribute to the development of kidney cancer over time.

Family History: A family history of kidney cancer can elevate one's risk of developing this cancer, suggesting a genetic component to the disease. Specific inherited gene mutations can also increase susceptibility.

Certain Hereditary Syndromes: Conditions such as Hereditary Papillary Renal Cell Carcinoma (HRCC) that are inherited diseases, increase the risk of renal cell carcinoma due to genetic mutations.

Occupational Exposures: Prolonged exposure to certain workplace chemicals, such as asbestos, organic solvents, or heavy metals, has been linked to an increased risk of kidney cancer.

Gender and Age: Men are more likely to develop kidney cancer than women, and the risk increases with age, particularly after 50 years.

Kidney Disease: Individuals with chronic kidney disease, particularly those on long-term dialysis, face an elevated risk of kidney cancer.

Stages of kidney cancer

Ultrasound of Kidney - NU Hospitals

Staging is used to describe the stage of cancer. It refers to the location of the cancer, the extent of its spread, and the extent to which it is affecting other organs. Diagnostic tests are used to determine the stage of cancer. Understanding the stage of cancer allows the physician to suggest the most suitable treatment for the patient, and it can be used to predict the prognosis of the patient.

There are 4 stages of kidney cancer depending on the extent of spread of the cancer and involvement of other organs. The treatment of cancer also depends on the stage where the treatment intent in stage 1 and 2 is more curative (curing the cancer). The intent of treatment in Stage 3 and 4 is usually palliative (only treatment of symptoms as the cancer cannot be cured). The survival of a patient also depends on the stage with stage 4 having least survival.

Treatment for kidney cancer

Operating Surgery - NU Hospitals

The treatment of kidney cancer depends on various factors, including the cancer's stage, location, and the patient's overall health. Treatment options may include:

Surgery: The primary treatment for localized kidney cancer involves surgically removing the tumor and, in some cases, the entire kidney.

Targeted Therapy: Targeted drugs, such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors and immune checkpoint inhibitors, are used to block specific proteins that promote cancer growth. These therapies are effective against advanced or metastatic kidney cancer.

Immunotherapy: Certain medications are used to enhance the body's immune response to attack cancer cells. They may be given along with surgery or as a standalone treatment.

Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy may be used to treat kidney cancer, especially in cases where surgery is not an option. It is commonly used to alleviate kidney cancer symptoms.

Ablation Therapies: These minimally invasive procedures, including radiofrequency ablation and cryoablation, use extreme temperatures to destroy small kidney tumors.

The choice of treatment for kidney cancer is highly individualized and is determined by a multi-disciplinary team of oncologists, surgeons, and other specialists. Patients should consult their healthcare provider regarding their diagnosis and treatment options. Generally, early-stage kidney cancer can be treated with surgery while in more advanced cases, a combination of targeted therapies and immunotherapy may be necessary to control the disease and improve overall survival.

NU Hospitals in Bangalore stands at the forefront of kidney care, known for its advanced medical practices in nephrology and urology. It consistently delivers cutting-edge treatments for kidney cancer patients.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *