Kidney Cancer: June 16 is celebrated as World Kidney Cancer Day. The day is observed to spread awareness about renal cancer and its causes, symptoms and treatment. This year, the theme of World Kidney Cancer Day is 'We need to talk about different treatment options.' This is one of the rising concerns and needs to be addressed. The studies show that renal cancer is more prevalent in men than women.
What is Renal Cancer?
Cancer, caused by the uncontrolled proliferation of aberrant cells creates a mass known as a tumor, which when developed in the kidney, is referred to as kidney cancer. Non-cancerous cells can form in the kidney on occasion, making it difficult to distinguish between the two in the laboratory or radiographic studies. However, unlike in the past, when treatment options were limited, with advances in medicine and surgery, a large proportion of cancers can be cured if diagnosed early.
Though people above 60 years old are more at risk of kidney cancer, with men being the most prevalent, such tumors have been seen in younger people (50 years old) in India, with an estimated incidence of 2-3 per 100,000 men and 1 per 100,000 females.
The rise in the prevalence of kidney tumors can also be attributed to increasing awareness and the rise in thorough health check-ups across all age groups in recent years. Imaging advances, such as high-resolution ultrasonography and enhanced CT scans, have enabled earlier diagnosis of malignancies, as well as early intervention and treatment.
There are a few hereditary abnormalities that can predispose a person to kidney cancer, but no risk factors have been demonstrated to have a direct causal influence on renal malignancies. Smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure have all been linked to kidney cancer.
Symptoms & Diagnosis:
Renal cancer symptoms include blood in the urine, flank discomfort, swelling in the kidney region, loss of weight or appetite, and so on.
However, it is critical that everyone realizes that when these symptoms appear, the disease has advanced too far and may no longer be totally treatable.
As a result, it is critical to educate everyone about the absolute importance of frequent health checks, including a panel of blood tests and an ultrasound scan, which will allow us to detect any such pathology and help cure the tumor and make the patient cancer-free for life.
- Treatment is primarily surgical, and if detected early, an advanced yet common surgical procedure called Partial Nephrectomy (Nephron Sparing Surgery) is performed, in which only the tumor with a thin rim of normal kidney tissue is removed, curing the patient of cancer while sparing the rest of the kidney.
- This can be accomplished by open surgery, laparoscopy, or the cutting-edge technology of robotic surgery, which allows a patient to be treated and back on his feet quickly and painlessly.
- Though therapy depends on the size and location of the tumor, its grade, and if it has spread to other organs, sophisticated robotic surgery has proven a blessing in most cases.
- In certain situations, newer therapeutic methods like cryoablation and radiofrequency ablation have shown to be beneficial.
- Immunotherapy and targeted medication therapy are utilized in certain circumstances, depending on the pathology and grade of the tumor, to achieve a complete cure and avoid cancer recurrence.
- Radiation therapy is used to relieve symptoms such as pain in advanced instances rather than for treatment.
(This article is attributed to Dr. Shakir Tabrez, Consultant – Urology, Uro-Oncology, Andrology, Kidney Transplant & Robotic Surgery, Fortis Cunningham, Bangalore)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of India TV)