Cancer » Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and originates mainly in the kidney. Depending upon the nature and origin of the disease, the cancer can be of two major types as urothelial cell carcinoma (UCC) and renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of this disease and more than 80% of the overall cases detected belong to this category.
The disease in detail
Kidney cancer is one of the major disorders related to and affecting the kidney. The disease can be either primary or secondary in nature. Primary cancer develops in the kidney itself and spreads to other parts of the body later. The secondary cancer is the one in which the cancerous cells develop in organs other than the kidney and reach the kidney at a later stage. Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of cancer occurring in adults and is also known as hypernephroma or renal adenocarcinoma. There is another important type of cancer of the kidney affecting the renal pelvis and is known as transitional cell carcinoma.
Kidney is one of the vital organs of human body and it is a part of the urinary tract. It performs the important function of generating urine by removing excess water and unnecessary components or wastes from the blood. The urine is then stored in the renal pelvis from where it passes to the bladder through a tube like organ called ureter. Kidneys also play an important role in producing certain substances beneficial for controlling the blood pressure. Efficient functioning of kidney is important for generation of sufficient red blood cells. Hence, formation of tumors in the kidney may affect the overall co-ordination between various vital organs of the body.
The nature and intensity of kidney cancer depends mainly on the nature of tumor and the time period for which it has been present in the body. Tumors can be benign or cancerous. Cancerous tumors are the ones, which cause most of the destruction. They develop by invading and damaging the healthy tissues and replacing live cells by the cancerous ones. These malignant cells prevent the tissues from carrying the basic function of supplying blood and oxygen to vital parts of the body. Thus, they disturb the overall growth mechanism and prevent systematic cell-growth. Cancerous tumors also spread to other parts of the body through the lymph nodes or bloodstream and form tumors in the areas they invade. It is difficult to get rid of malignant cells as they develop rapidly and the chances of their recurrence are high.
Benign tumors should not be mistaken with the cancerous tumors though both appear almost same physically. These tumors are not destructive and do not invade the healthy cells and tissues. Also, they restrict themselves to a particular organ or area and do not spread to other parts of the body. Their chances of reappearance are very less and are comparatively easy to eliminate. Renal cell carcinoma occurs mainly due to abnormality of cells in the filtering system of the kidney. The cancerous cells develop mainly in the lining of the tubules located in the kidney. Cancer of the kidney occurring in children is also known as Wilm's tumor and compromises almost 90-95 % of pediatric cancer cases related to kidney. Wilm's tumor mostly occurs in children below five years of age.
General awareness about the disease
Kidney cancer is completely curable if detected in early stages but can be fatal if the symptoms are ignored for a long time. Blood in the urine is the most common symptom of the cancer. Lump in the area adjacent to kidney can also be another important indicator of the development of tumor. There are also some rare symptoms like low blood pressure of deficiency of red blood cells. Unexpected weight loss or considerable loss of appetite is another important warning to undergo a thorough physical examination. Hypertension can also be linked to cell abnormality but a thorough diagnosis is necessary to find out the real cause.
Some victims of the cancer may experience chronic fatigue and swelling in the legs and ankles. Abdominal pain or lump in the abdominal areas and frequent back pain must also be taken seriously. The disease is not easy to detect, as most of the symptoms it shows are quite common among many other diseases. Hence, you should undergo a thorough medical examination to decide the correct line of treatment.
The disease is more common in adults aged above 40 years. Also, males are more prone to the disease as compared to females. Smoking, excess alcohol consumption and tobacco chewing is the most important cause of the disease. Family history of the disease increases the risk of being prone to the disease. People who have undergone dialysis treatment are at a slightly higher risk of being a victim of cancer of the kidney. Von Hippel-Lindau disease and polycystic kidney disease may also lead to the development of cancerous cells. Obesity must be avoided and proper attention must be given to improve your immunity system. A strong immunity system will be very advantageous in avoiding the infection. Have salads, fresh fruits and vegetables in your regular diet and avoid too much consumption of fats. Regular exercise will help you to maintain the physique well. Regular consumption of painkiller medicines may put you at risk as the body resistance decreases considerably.
Kidney cancer can be cured using various reliable treatments like chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy is undertaken rarely as the disease is quite resistant to these treatments. A surgery known as nephrectomy is usually recommended to remove a part of or the whole kidney. Biopsy, urine analysis and blood test are some of the common medical examination techniques. Computed tomography scan (CT scan), magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI scan), X-rays, ultrasound and intravenous pyelogram are some other examination techniques. Consult your physician before opting for any of the above tests or treatments.