Kidney Cancer: Causes, Diagnosis, Drawbacks of Conventional Surgery, and Treatment Options

Kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer, occurs when abnormal cells in the kidneys grow uncontrollably, forming a tumor. The kidneys are vital organs responsible for filtering waste products from the blood and producing urine. There are different types of kidney cancer, with Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) being the most common type in adults. It is a concerning health issue that affects thousands of individuals worldwide each year. Healthcare providers diagnose approximately 400,000 new cases worldwide. Anyone can develop RCC, but it’s most common in men and commonly seen between 50 to 70 years age people this article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of kidney cancer, including its causes, diagnosis, drawbacks associated with conventional surgery, and available treatment options.

Causes of Kidney Cancer:

The exact cause of kidney cancer remains unclear, but several risk factors have been identified. These include smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, family history of kidney cancer, certain genetic conditions, exposure to certain chemicals or substances like asbestos or cadmium, and long-term dialysis treatment.

Symptoms:

· A lump on your side, belly, or lower back

· Blood in urine

· Low back pain on one side

· Losing weight for no clear reason

· Not feeling hungry

· Fever

· Feeling tired

· Anemia

· Night sweats

· High levels of calcium in blood

· High blood pressure

Diagnosis:

Early detection of kidney cancer is crucial for effective treatment and improved outcomes. Common diagnostic procedures for kidney cancer include imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scans, MRI scans, and angiography. Biopsy may also be performed to confirm the diagnosis by examining a sample of kidney tissue under a microscope.

Drawbacks of Conventional Surgery:

Conventional surgery for kidney cancer typically involves open surgery, known as a nephrectomy, where the entire kidney or tumor is removed through a large incision in the abdomen or side. While effective, conventional surgery has several drawbacks, including longer recovery times, increased risk of complications such as infection and bleeding, and longer hospital stays.

Treatment Options:

Advancements in medical technology and surgical techniques have led to the development of alternative treatment options for kidney cancer, offering improved outcomes and reduced risk of complications. Some of these treatment options include:

1. Minimally Invasive Surgery: Minimally invasive procedures, such as laparoscopic or robotic-assisted surgery, offer several advantages over conventional open surgery, including smaller incisions, less blood loss, faster recovery times, and reduced risk of complications.

2. Partial Nephrectomy: In cases where the tumor is small and confined to a specific area of the kidney, a partial nephrectomy may be performed to remove only the tumor while preserving the healthy portion of the kidney. This approach helps to maintain kidney function and reduces the risk of long-term kidney problems.

3. Cryoablation and Radiofrequency Ablation: These minimally invasive procedures involve the use of extreme cold or heat to destroy cancerous tissue. They are often recommended for small tumors or patients who are not suitable candidates for surgery.

4. Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy: Targeted therapy drugs and immunotherapy drugs are designed to target specific molecules or pathways involved in cancer growth and spread. These treatments can be effective in advanced or metastatic kidney cancer cases and may be used alone or in combination with other treatments.

Kidney cancer is a serious condition that requires prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment. While conventional surgery has been the standard approach for many years, alternative treatment options such as minimally invasive surgery, partial nephrectomy, and targeted therapy offer promising outcomes with fewer drawbacks. It is essential for individuals at risk of kidney cancer to be aware of the symptoms and seek medical attention if they experience any concerning signs. By staying informed and exploring all available treatment options, patients can make informed decisions about their care and improve their chances of successful outcomes.

Prognosis:

The prognosis depends on stage on histology of the cell type.

Stage 1: has a 90% 5-year survival rate.

Stage 2: has a 50% 5-year survival rate.

Stage 3: gas a 30 % 5-year survival rate.

Stage 4: has a 5% 5-year survival rate.

 

Dr. Muralidhar Bora – Consultant Radiation Oncologist, HCG Cancer Centre, Vizag

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