One of the most dreaded cancers out there is kidney cancer. When malignant changes happen in renal tissue, the results can be potentially disastrous if left unchecked. This is why it is important to know more about this type of cancer and its symptoms. Also, it is essential to learn more about kidney cancer treatment for you to better understand your available options.
Depending on the size of cancer, which is common in the form of a tumor, the symptoms a patient can have may vary. Here is a list of the general symptoms associated with kidney cancer.
1. Hematuria– Blood in the urine is a generalized symptom that something is wrong with any part of the urinary tract. When the tumor disrupts the normal structure of renal tissue, blood can get mixed with the produced urine. When you constantly have bloody urine, there’s a chance of you having renal cancer.
2. Flank pain– Pain in the flank associated with the affected kidney is a symptom associated with renal diseases such as kidney cancer. This pain can extend into the abdomen and/or back, and tenderness may be present when touched. The presence of a tumor will press into your abdominal walls, which can cause significant discomfort. The pain usually becomes more intense as the tumor becomes larger.
3. Abdominal mass– Tumors in general present as a mass. A person with kidney cancer may have a visible and palpable mass at the flank, abdomen, or lower back. Depending on the aggressiveness of the tumor, it can grow huge really fast. If you see or feel a suspicious growth in your abdomen, it might mean kidney cancer.
4. Anemia– Anemia is a symptom usually associated with any kind of chronic kidney disease. This is because one of the important roles of your kidneys is to produce erythropoietin. The Erythropoietin hormone fuels the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. When your kidneys get damaged by cancer, erythropoietin production decreases, leading to anemia.
5. Weight loss– Rapid weight loss is usually associated with any kind of cancer. Depending on the stage of the tumor and the presence/absence of metastasis, the speed and amount of weight loss may vary. If you have any of the aforementioned symptoms with weight loss, diagnosis of a renal malignancy becomes more likely.
The symptoms you show is part of your work up to determine if you have kidney cancer. After proper diagnostics are done, the type of kidney cancer treatment you need will be determined. There are multiple treatment options available for people who are suffering from this disease. Here are some of the available management options for people suffering from kidney cancer.
1. Ablation– Ablation is a procedure wherein tissue is destroyed for therapeutic reasons. In cases of kidney cancer, it’s tumor cells that are ablated. There are multiple methods used for ablation, including the use of extreme cold (cryotherapy), radio waves (radiofrequency ablation), or destruction of blood vessels linked to the tumor (embolization).
2. Tumor removal– Removing the tumor can be both a diagnostic and therapeutic method of choice for various tumors. Outright removal of the tumor can resolve most of the symptoms the patient feels. The removed tumor can then be used for biopsy purposes to determine the type of malignancy. Tumor resection is only possible in certain clinical situations.
3. Radiotherapy– A common technique used for cancers in general, radiotherapy uses radiation to kill tumor cells. While kidney tumors, in general, are not sensitive to radiotherapy, this method is usually used if the patient is not healthy enough to undergo surgical removal of the tumor. It is also used as a palliative method for advanced stages of cancer.
4. Chemotherapy– Chemotherapy can also be used for destroying tumor cells. Chemo drugs are introduced in the body either orally or via the intravenous route. While there are a lot of side effects associated with this therapy, this is usually the only treatment of choice available for kidney tumors that have already spread to other organs.
5. Kidney removal– Total removal of the kidney is a possibility depending on the type of tumor. If the tumor has already caused significant damage to renal tissue or if there is the threat of metastasis, the affected kidney may be removed surgically. The health of the other kidney and the type of cancer are 2 important factors to consider before removing a kidney affected with cancer.
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