The size of a fist, shaped like a bean and situated on either side of your spine in your lower abdomen–these ,are your kidneys. They form part of the urinary tract and are responsible for removing waste from your body. Like any other organ in the body, kidneys too can develop cancer and the most common kind is renal cell carcinoma.
Renal cell carcinoma occurs in adults and starts in the cells lining the tubes in the kidney.
Transitional cell carcinoma affecting the renal pelvis is another type of kidney cancer. The kidney cancer that affects children is known as Wilms tumor and requires a different kind of treatment.
Renal cell carcinoma is not noticeable in the early stages as it causes no apparent problems. As it develops, however, blood can be noticed in the urine accompanied by unexplained weight loss or recurrent back pain. Weakness and irregular fever are other symptoms. The blood in the urine can also be detected during a test while an examination can reveal the existence of a mass in the area of the kidneys.
Kidney cancer cells can spread to other sites in the body and there may be pain in these parts such as lymph nodes, lungs, liver, or bones. The second kidney can also be affected. One thing to note is that if the cancer metastasizes to other parts of the body the cancer is still treated as kidney cancer.
Generally, the renal cell tumor will grow as a single mass but there can be more than one tumor in one kidney or in both. The causes of kidney cancer are not clear but certain risk factors have been identified and include age (people over 60 are more susceptible), sex (men are more likely to develop it than women), race (black men are at higher risk than white), smoking, obesity, hypertension, and long-term dialysis. Exposure to radiation can also up the chances of being affected by this cancer. Also, those afflicted by the Von Hippel-Landau syndrome–a disease that runs in families–are at higher risk of contracting this cancer. Those who are exposed to environmental toxins or chemical substances such as asbestos and cadmium also increase their chances of developing renal cell cancer.
Blood and urine tests are recommended by physicians after they take your entire medical history and perform a thorough physical examination. If your doctor feels you are at high risk then he may recommend a CT scan, an MRI, a biopsy and an IVP. Additional blood tests, a liver ultrasound, bone scans and x-rays will reveal if the tumor has spread to other parts of the body. Then, depending on the stage of cancer surgery is an option. The surgeon can perform a simple, radical, or laparoscopic nephrectomy. Immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy may also be resorted to.
You may or may not be at risk for kidney cancer, but if you think you are then consult a doctor and carry out the necessary tests, for, if recognized early enough, the cancer is treatable. Your doctor can advise you on the tests to be performed and how to reduce your risk. The earlier the detection, the better the chances of survival. Once the cancer has spread it makes the treatment more difficult and the prognosis not so favorable.
post a comment
© 2006 - 2012 Healthoma.com. You can link to the articles of this website from your websites but are not allowed to post the whole articles on your websites. Violators will be prosecuted.