Kidney cancer or renal carcinoma as it is also known happens mostly to older people and consists of 2% to 3% of the cancer incidence among adults, happening twice as frequent to men than to women. Renal cancer carcinoma is the type of kidney tumor that most frequently hits the adults. Development starts in the cells lining the tiny tubes in the kidneys. Children and young adults rarely contract this disease, except for a kind of this cancer known as Wilms tumor which happens to babies as well as a hereditary kidney cancer like the von Hippel-Lindau disease.
What causes Kidney Cancer?
Medical professionals have not pinpointed the exact cause for kidney cancer. There are however some external aspects that contributes to an individual’s becoming a high risk such as excessive smoking, obesity, environmental conditions and aging.
Indications for kidney cancer go unnoticed because it takes a long time for tumors to develop and will only become noticeable once the patient starts to feel the physical manifestations such as blood in the urine, fatigue and pain, and the growing mass. Back pain is one indication of the disease but oftentimes ignored and taken as due to aging, and thus causing this cancer to advance unnoticed. Developing high blood pressure is another indication of this cancer.
The possibility of having kidney cancer becomes four times more if the family has a history of this cancer. Going on dialysis for many years, almost for a lifetime is one of the risks presented by kidney cancer.
Individuals who have contracted gall bladder cancer are also at risk for this cancer and the other way around. Three percent of kidney cancer victims have inborn diseased gene that puts their second kidney at high risk of also getting the disease as well.
Staying away from smoking is one of the best ways to avoid developing kidney cancer and quitting this vice would also lessen the risk of renal pelvis cancer by ½% and the renal cell carcinoma by a rate of 1/3%.
Some other things that may prevent the development of this cancer include maintaining an ideal body weight, eating lots of fruits and vegetables such as bananas and root vegetables like carrots, keeping blood pressure at normal levels and avoiding exposure to toxic environments.
Kidney Cancer Diagnosis
Kidney cancer can generally be diagnosed using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or tomography (CT) scan, ultrasound. Cystoscopy is also employed to exclude associated bladder cancer. Sometimes the cancer cells from the kidney may separate from the original tumor and metastasize to other organs or areas of the body such as the lymph nodes, bones or lungs. One third of cases show that by the time the cancer has been diagnosed, it has already spread to other parts of the body.
Kinds of Kidney Cancer
Of all the cases of kidney cancer, 85% are renal carcinoma. There is a not so common kind of this cancer called is Papillary carcinoma. The rare kind of kidney cancer is Collecting Duct carcinoma, Renal sarcoma, Chromophobe carcinomas, and Medullary.
Kidney Cancer Cure
Various treatments can be employed to cure this cancer which includes: arterial embolization, surgery, biological therapy, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy which will largely depend on what stage the cancer is already in and the patient’s general health condition. The only cure for this cancer is through radical nephrectomy which might or might not entail taking away of the lymph nodes.
Nephrectomy is the amputation of the whole organ which will include the nearby lymph nodes and surrounding tissues even it is not infected as was the normal practice. Today, however, studies show that just removing the tumor also presents the same kidney cancer survival rate and in some cases, even lessens the chance of succeeding renal failure.
Additionally, scientist are now able to separate the cancer causing gene and this is a much welcome development as it will greatly enhance the diagnosis and treatment process of a number of the cancers. Continuous research is done on different combinations of interferon and interleukin-2, and some other biological agents and possible development of vaccines from cells taken from kidney cancer.