Understanding Kidney Cancer

Cancer in one of the kidneys is not a joke. This is a serious and critical type of illness that must not be ignored. Let’s understand how this is triggered and what can you do to prevent or treat it.

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About Kidney

Kidneys are body organs that are located on each side of the spine and in the lower abdomen. This organ is actually a part of the urinary tract. That means it has a special role in the process of urination. It removes extra water and wastes from the blood to form urine. This is important to remove out of the body. Other than that, it helps in regulating blood pressure level. It is also able to produce red blood cells.

Cancerous Cells in the Kidney

Kidney cancer starts if the tissues in one or two of the kidneys are abnormal. It is usually occur with renal cell carcinoma, which is the common type of kidney cancer in adults. This is a cancer that is formed in the lining of the tubes, which are small in size, in the kidney. These are tubes that eradicate wastes and filter blood.

Transitional cell carcinoma is another type of kidney cancer. This particularly affects the renal pelvis. Both renal cell carcinoma and transitional cell carcinoma occur in adults.

For kids, the cancer is called Wilms tumor. This is a type of kidney cancer that basically happens in younger children.

Kidney Cancer

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Spread and Growth

Cancer in the kidney can spread and affect other parts. It can cause the other kidney to form cancerous cells. Worse, it may spread near the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, and also bones.

Risks of the Cancer

Causes of kidney cancer vary as there are several risks. It can be developed due to family history. If none of the family members, the risk of cancer can be due to bad habits, such as smoking cigarettes. It is also possible due to frequent dialysis treatment, polycystic kidney disease, Von Hippel-Lindau disease, and high blood pressure.

Signs and Symptoms

There are certain symptoms of kidney cancer. Some are common to other diseases that aren’t cancer, while others are distinctive. The signs and symptoms that are similar to other illnesses include back pain, abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, and sudden weight loss. The most distinctive indications are blood in the urine and stool, swelling of the varicocele in men, and flank pain. Sometimes, this cancer also gives pale skin, vision problems, and excessive hair growth in women.

Diagnosis and Treatment

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It is advisable for anybody to go to a doctor once he or she feels many of the symptoms listed above. This is helpful as you are properly diagnosed. Several tests are conducted to confirm if it is really a kidney cancer.

Doctors usually do a physical exam to see if there is swelling or mass in the abdomen. In men, their variocele is also checked. Generally, the tests that a doctor can run are abdominal CT scan for identifying the presence of mass and swelling, ultrasound of the kidney and abdomen, complete blood count and blood chemistry, renal areriography, intravenous pyelogram, and, of course, urine tests. Sometimes, liver function tests are also conducted.

Additional tests may be also performed. To see if the cancer has spread, other exams are certainly conducted. These include bone scan, chest x-ray and CT scan, and PET scan.

Treatment Methods

How to cure kidney cancer varies also. There are different methods to cure this illness. The usual way to treat cancer in the kidney is surgery. This is a practical way to remove a part or the rest of the kidney that is affected. The bladder, lymph nodes, and tissues surrounding them can be also removed depending on the level of condition.

Other than surgical removal, hormone treatments, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and medications are also given. Hormonal cure is usually conducted to shorten the size of the tumor. Chemotherapy is used to reduce pain, but not to directly cure the cancer. Radiation therapy is rarely performed, but it is possible.

As you can see, it is not a mild case to have a kidney cancer. Like other cancers, this must be addressed seriously. It helps to prevent having this cancer in any of your family if you know the basics about it from symptoms to risks.