Kidney cancer is one of the most researched subjects in the scientific area. One of the current massive research in this field is the investigation of novel biomarkers in the urine and the blood as well as novel imaging platforms to both diagnose kidney cancers and predict their clinical behaviour. Until now, we know that kidney cancers are just like other cancers in regards to their fundamental properties.
What is Kidney Cancer?
The cancer in kidneys is the multiplication and growth of kidney cells in an abnormal pattern. To understand this abnormal pattern, you should be first aware of the term contact inhibition. This fancy term is just defined as the property of normal cells to stop growing when they come in contact with other cells. However, cancerous cells lack this basic property due to some genetic alteration causing them to grow out of control. You should also have a basic understanding of benign and malignant tumours before understanding any cancer. While benign tumour is considered to be “not that serious” as they are more localized and slow in growth, malignant tumours are the ones which destroy neighbouring cells and grow very rapidly to spread throughout the body. In many cases, particularly in patients with kidney cancer, benign tumours can develop into malignant.
How Can We Classify the Types of Kidney Cancer?
Embryonal tumours: These tumours are the ones which start in the foetal cells of the kidneys. They are of two types
- Mesoblastic nephroma is benign in nature
- Wilm’s tumour is malignant and due to this the shape of the kidney is lost
Epithelial tumours: These are the type of tumours which start in the cells that are present at the outer surface of the kidneys. These tumours are classified as:
- Renal Parenchyma tumour is the cancer development at the peripheral part of the kidney and is further classified as:
- An adenoma is a benign type of tumour
- Renal cell carcinoma is a malignant type of cancer in the kidney
- Renal pelvis tumour is cancer which is located at the centre of the kidney from where urine is passed into the ureter. This type of cancer is also classified as:
- Transitional cell papilloma, which is benign
- Transitional cell carcinoma, which is malignant
Non- epithelial tumours: These tumours appear inside the kidneys and are usually accidentally diagnosed. Types of these tumours are:
- Fibroma is a benign type of cancer
- Sarcomas, which is a malignant type and is very rare
Kidney cancer causes
Although being one of the most common forms of cancer in the world, renal cancer causes are still a mystery to researchers and doctors. However, one thing that is established about this cancer is that its causes, whatever they may be, trigger a genetic mutation within the cells of the kidney causing normal nephrons to abnormally multiply and grow, resulting in the accumulation of tumour cells. Apart from this knowledge about the causes of this cancer, there are certain factors that add to the risk of this type of genetic mutation:
- Smoking: It contributes to the risk of developing renal cancer to a very drastic extent as there are innumerable carcinogens present in tobacco.
- Obesity: Being overweighed is a significant risk factor for tumour development in the kidney
- Occasional exposure to certain chemicals such as lead, asbestos, and cadmium.
- Prolonged use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as NSAIDs
- Presence of this condition in the family
- Being on dialysis treatment
- High blood pressure
- Other inherited conditions such as von Hippel-Lindau disease
- Polycystic kidney disease
Symptoms of kidney cancer
The absence of early symptoms in this disease makes it even deadlier. However, some symptoms of renal cancer appear as the condition advances. A few of the significant symptoms are:
- Unusual tiredness
- Appetite loss
- Hematuria, which constitutes blood in the urine
- Inexplicable weight loss
- Vision impairment
- Presence of a lump on the side of the belly
- Prolonged pain the in abdomen side
As you can see there are no defined symptoms of kidney cancer, this is the reason renal cancer is usually diagnosed accidentally.
Is there any kidney cancer treatment option?
Treatment of renal cancer is a very subjective medical practice as it heavily depends upon the type, duration and severity of the condition. However, there are certain protocols that doctors follow after diagnosing the presence of kidney cancer.
After the accidental diagnosis of this condition, the doctors first start with a more accurate diagnostic procedure which may include; a CT scan, urine examination, complete blood count, and biopsy. This step helps the doctors to access the stage of cancer and other factors surrounding it aiding them to determine the best treatment option for a specific patient. Depending upon the stage of kidney cancer, the treatment options are as follows:
- Chemotherapy: This includes the exposure of the body to certain chemical agents which may or may not inhibit some metabolic pathways helping in reducing the rapidness of metastasis.
- Biologic therapy: to increase the body’s own immune system in order to fight cancer cells
- Targeted therapy: this type of treatment is used to attach certain cancer cells without damaging the healthy cells.
- Surgery: this is the most common treatment option for renal cancer and includes removing a part or the entire kidney depending upon the degree to which the kidney is involved.
As kidney cancer causes are still a research subject, there are no specific preventive measures for it. You can take general measures for staying healthy in order to avoid the risk factors of kidney cancer. However, once this condition is diagnosed, the patient should only aim for getting the best kidney cancer treatment for them. One of the first steps in getting this kind of treatment is to get an immediate appointment with a well-abled urologist. An experienced and well-handed urologist, like Dr. Dushyant Pawar, can help you to get the most personalized treatment option and can execute a surgical procedure, if you need one, with utmost efficiency.
To fix an appointment with our skilful urologist, contact us at Dr. Dushyant Pawar