What is Kidney Cancer?
Kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer, is a form of cancer that affects the cells of the kidney in a person. This cancer causes the kidney cells to grow at an uncontrollable and abnormal rate and it eventually forms a tumor which can lead to serious health complications if left untreated for long.
Most of the kidney cancers are known to originate in the tubules (tiny tubes) of the kidney. This is called as a ‘renal cell carcinoma’.
What are the causes of Kidney Cancer?
Although doctors have not been able to specifically identify a particular factor for causing kidney cancer, there are several risk factors that have been identified which lead to the development of kidney cancer.
These are the risk factors that contribute to the growth of kidney cancer in a person:
- Certain painkillers
- Genetics (heredity)
- family history of kidney cancer
- exposure to certain chemicals
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Cancer?
In many cases, the kidney cancer might not show noticeable signs, but as the tumor grows in size the symptoms become more pronounced and frequent.
These are the few commonly seen signs and symptoms of kidney cancer:
- blood in the urine
- lump in side/abdomen
- loss of appetite
- chronic pain in the side
- unreasonable weight loss
- long-term fever
- extreme fatigue
- swelling in legs/ankles
- shortness of breath
- bone pain
- coughing up blood
How is Kidney Cancer diagnosed?
The initial diagnosis of kidney cancer usually involves a physical examination and a check of your medical history. The physical examination will require the doctor to feel your side/abdomen for lumps as well as check for high blood pressure and fever.
These are the few additional diagnostic tests that might be advised by the doctor for confirming the presence of kidney cancer:
- Urine Test – This is used to check for blood in the urine and other similar symptoms
- Blood Test – This will help show the functioning status of the kidney
- Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP) – This test involves using x-ray imaging to see the kidney after injecting it with a contrasting dye which helps to highlight any abnormality (tumors) in it
- Ultrasound – The doctor will use sound-waves to create an image of the kidney and help identify tumor type (solid/fluid-filled)
- Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan – This advanced imaging test creates detailed cross-sectional images of the kidney and help identify any abnormalities in it
- MRI Test – This imaging test magnetic energy to create pictures of the kidney
How is Kidney Cancer staging done?
The treatment plan is made according to the type and stage of the kidney cancer. These are the stages that are used to categorize the progress (stage) of the kidney cancer:
- Stage 1 – Tumor (7 cm or smaller) is restricted to the kidney.
- Stage 2 – Tumor (larger than 7 cm) restricted to the kidney.
- Stage 3 – Tumor in the kidney has spread to nearby lymph node.
- Stage 4 – Cancer has spread from kidney, to nearby lymph node and to other nearby organs.
How is Kidney Cancer Treated?
There are several ways to treat a kidney cancer, and the exact method depends mainly on the diagnosis (stage) of the cancer as well as the surgeon’s expertise.
This is the initial treatment method for kidney cancers. There are several different surgical approaches employed in surgical kidney cancer treatment, such as:
- Simple Nephrectomy – This surgery involves removing only the affected kidney.
- Partial Nephrectomy – This surgery involves removing the tumor from the kidney as well as some of the healthy tissues from around the cancer to prevent future cancerous cells from affecting it.
- Radical Nephrectomy – This surgery involves removing the kidney along with the adrenal gland and the surrounding tissue. It might also require removal of the nearby lymph nodes. This is the most common form of surgical kidney cancer treatment and is usually performed using advanced minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical method.
A person can live properly with even one healthy kidney as long as it is fully functional. In case both the kidneys are removed (or are not functioning satisfactorily) the patient might require a dialysis procedure for cleaning the blood using artificial methods, or a kidney transplant.
In case the surgical treatment is not successful in treating the kidney cancer, the doctor might suggest alternate treatment methods, such as:
- Radiofrequency Ablation – This technique uses high-energy radio waves to destroy the tumor using heat generated by focusing the beam in the tumor precisely.
- Cryotherapy – This technique involves using extreme cold to destroy the tumor.
- Arterial Embolization – This technique requires inserting an artificial prosthetic in the artery to the kidney to block off the blood flow to the kidney. This stops the blood supply to the tumor and it eventually decreases in size enough to be removed using surgical methods.
- Radiation Therapy – This technique involves using high-energy beams of radiation to precisely target the tumor and kill it.
- Chemotherapy – This technique requires using medicinal drugs designed to target the cancer cells in the body.
Why choose Travcure for Kidney Cancer Treatment in India?
Travcure is the leader in providing the best and most efficient medical and surgical treatment in India. It is well-connected to an expansive network of world-class hospitals and clinics that are spread across the country located in major cities. These healthcare facilities are managed by the most experienced and extensively trained medical professionals. Travcure offers every patient with a unique bespoke treatment package for the best and most affordable kidney cancer treatment in India.