Kidney CancerCancer » Kidney Cancer
The kidneys are an essential part of our urinary system. We have two kidneys, and they are located on either side of the spine in our lower back. They are about the size of a fist and bean shaped. The left kidney is just below the liver, while the right one sits below the diaphragm and near the spleen. Each kidney together with the adrenal gland (which sits a top of each kidney) is covered by a mass of fatty tissue and an outer layer of fibrous tissue. The primary function of the kidney is to filter waste from our blood. The kidneys also make substances that help to control blood pressure and the production of red blood cells.
Kidney cancer is usually defined as a cancer that originates in the kidney. Kidney cancer is considered rare, but it's not really uncommon to find it. Renal cell carcinoma is a type of kidney cancer in which the cancerous cells are found in the lining of very small tubes (tubules) in the kidney. Kidney cancer is a form of cancer that develops within the kidney tissue. Kidney and ureter cancer seldom causes problems in its early stages. But as a tumor grows, a cancer patient may notice blood in the urine or experience unintentional weight loss or back pain that doesn't go away. Cancer cells may also spread (metastasize) outside the patient's kidneys to nearby organs such as adrenal glands, pancreas and spine, as well as to more distant sites in the body.
Kidney Cancer Types
The cancer formed in the tissues of kidney is renal cancer. It has many types but the two are most common of all:
- Renal cell carcinoma.
- Transitional cell carcinoma.
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC): RCC is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults and also called as renal adenocarcinoma or hypernephroma. There are tiny tubes inside kidneys, known as proximal convoluted tubules that do the work of blood filtration to remove waste matter in it. In renal cell cancer the cancerous cells are found in the lining of the tubules.
Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC): It is usually found in urinary system, the kidney, gall bladder and related organs. It is the second most common type of renal cancer and found in the transitional epithelium, a tissue lining in the inner surface of organs that comprise urinary system.
Kidney Cancer Causes
Risk factor means anything that increases a person's chance of getting a disease such as cancer. There is no single cause of kidney cancer, but some factors increase the risk of developing it:
- Being over weight.
- A family history of kidney carcinoma, genetic conditions, such as von Hippel-Lindua (VHL) disease.
- Long term dialysis.
- A dull ache or pain in the back or side.
Kidney Cancer Symptoms
There are many variations of kidney cancer. The most common symptom of kidney cancer is the presence of blood in the urine. Following are the other:
- A lump or mass in the area of kidney.
- Bones that break easily.
- Chronic fatigue.
- Unexplained, rapid weight loss.
- Leg and ankle swelling.
- Hypertension (high blood pressure).
- Night sweats.
- Increased calcium in the blood.
- Liver problems.
The diagnosis procedure are CT scan, MRI scan, blood and urine tests, chest x-ray and bone scan to have a metastatic view to these parts, etc.
Kidney Cancer Treatments
Unlike any cancer the treatment of kidney cancer depends on the stage of the cancer stage which is resulted in the diagnosis procedure. The treatment is also depends on the location and size of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread to other organs.
- Surgery: Surgery is done to remove the part or the entire kidney is often used to treat renal cell cancer. Most kidney cancer patients have surgery, an operation called Radical Nephrectomy. In some cases, the surgeon removes the whole kidney (palliative Nephrectomy) or just the part of the kidney that contains the tumor (partial Nephrectomy). Finding cells in the lymph nodes means there may be cancer elsewhere in the body. Radical Nephrectomy is major surgery. Nephrectomy.
- Embolization: In embolization, a substance is injected to clog the renal blood vessels. The tumor shrinks because it does not get the blood supply it needs to grow. In some cases, embolization makes surgery easier. When surgery is not possible, this treatment may help reduce pain and bleeding.
- Hormone therapy: Some kidney cancers may be treated with hormones to control the growth of cancer cells. Some hormones are taken by mouth, others are given by injection.
- Biological therapy: Biological therapy is new way of treating kidney cancer. This treatment attempts to improve the way of body's immune system fights disease. Inter leukin-2 and interferon, are two forms of biological therapy being studied to treat the kidney cancer. This additional treatment is called adjuvant therapy.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy has not been very effective against kidney cancer, but researchers are studying new drugs and new drug combinations that may prove to be useful.