Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs about the size of a fist in the lower abdomen. Its main function is to clean the blood, remove waste products and make urine. Kidney cancer develops when kidney cells grow out of control and become cancerous. Mostly, cancer starts to appear in the lining of tubes in the kidney. Most kidney cancers are found before they are metastasized to other organs but by the time they are found, they are quite large tumors.
Causes of Kidney Cancer
- Having advanced kidney disease
- Certain genetic mutations
- Family history
- Exposure to certain chemicals
Symptoms of Kidney Cancer
- Lump in the abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling in legs or ankles
- Blood in urine
- Unexplained weight loss
Prevention of Kidney Cancer
- Keep your blood pressure in check
- Avoid smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid exposure to carcinogens
Diagnosis of Kidney Cancer
- Blood and urine tests – It helps the doctor identify the signs and symptoms
- Imaging test – It includes X-Rays, CT scans, or MRI to visualize kidney tumor or any other abnormality
- Biopsy – It includes removing a sample of kidney tissue to test them further in a lab for signs of cancer
- Angiography – It is an X-Ray that looks at blood vessels. A contrast dye is injected into the renal artery and the dye outlines the blood vessels.
Treatment of Kidney Cancer
- Nephrectomy – This surgery involves the removal of the entire kidney that is affected by cancer. Some healthy, nearby tissues might also be removed.
- Partial Nephrectomy – This surgery involves the removal of a tumor from the affected kidney instead of the entire kidney itself. A small margin of healthy tissue might be removed that surrounded the kidney. It is a fairly common treatment for small kidney cancers.
- Cryoablation – In this, a hollow needle is inserted into the kidney tumor using ultrasound. Then, cold gas is used to freeze the cancer cells.
- Radiofrequency Ablation – In this, a special probe is inserted into the kidney tumor using ultrasound. Then, an electric current is run through the needle, causing the cancer cells to burn or heat up.
- Targeted Therapy – This treatment uses specific drugs that are designed specifically to target the tumor cells present in the kidney. This therapy causes less harm to the normal cells than chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- Radiation Therapy – Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation like X-rays and protons for killing the cancer cells or halting their growth. It is sometimes also used to reduce the symptoms of kidney cancer that has spread to other areas of the body.
- Immunotherapy – It uses the body’s immune system to fight off cancer cells. Substances made in labs or by the body are used to boost and restore the body’s immune system and defend against cancer cells.