Kidney Cancer

18th Aug 2020 Sophia Hogg

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    What is Kidney Cancer?

    Kidney cancer is a type of cancer which starts in the kidneys. Your kidneys are like two bean shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They are located behind your abdominal organs, with one kidney on each side of your spine.

    In grown-ups, renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer. Other less common types of renal cell carcinoma may occur. Young children are more likely to develop a kind of kidney cancer known as Wilms tumor.

    The occurrence of kidney cancer seems to be increasing. One reason for this can be the fact that imaging techniques such as computerized tomography (CT) scans are being used more frequently. These tests can lead to the accidental discovery of more kidney cancer. Kidney cancer is frequently discovered at an early stage, when the cancer is small and confined to the kidney.

  • Kidney Cancer Symptoms

    Kidney cancer generally does not have signs or symptoms in its early stages. In time, signs and symptoms can develop, including:

    • Blood in your urine, which can appear pink, red or cola coloured
    • Pain in your back or side that does not go away
    • Loss of appetite
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Tiredness
    • Fever
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  • When should you see a doctor?

    Book an appointment with your doctor if you have any constant signs or symptoms that worry you.

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    Diagnosis of Kidney Cancer

    • Physical exam and history
    • Ultrasound exam
    • Blood chemistry studies
    • Urinalysis
    • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
    • CT scan (CAT scan also known as computed tomography)
    • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
    • Biopsy
  • When kidney cancer is diagnosed early, the chances of a surgical cure are good. Overall the viewpoint depends on two things:

    How aggressive the cancer cells are – Low grade diseases are less aggressive. There is a lower chance of spreading to other organs. High grade diseases are more aggressive with a higher chance of spreading.

    How far away the tumor has spread - If the tumor does not involve nearby lymph nodes or other tissue, there is a good chance for cure. Additional treatments will not be needed. If the cancer has spread, your primary care physician will probably recommend additional treatment.

  • Kidney Cancer Causes

    It is not clear what causes kidney cancer.

    Doctors know that kidney cancer starts when some kidney cells develop changes (mutations) in their DNA. A cell's DNA contains the instructions which tell a cell what to do. The changes tell the cells to grow and divide quickly.

    The increase in abnormal cells form a tumor that may extend beyond the kidney. Some cells can break off and spread to further parts of the body.

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    Kidney Cancer Treatment

    Kidney cancer treatment suggested by your cancer specialist depends on various factors like -

    • Tumor grade and stage
    • Your age
    • Your overall health and health history
    • Your examination (the examination of your kidney collection system)
  • Alternative Kidney Cancer Treatments Include -

    • Watch and Wait (Active Surveillance)
    • Renal tumor ablation (freeze or heat)
    • Surgery to remove the tumor
    • Targeted therapy to kill cancer cells
    • Immunotherapy or biologic therapy to kill the cancer cells
    • Chemotherapy
    • Radiation to relieve pain and symptoms
    • A clinical trial to try a new way of treatment or research studies
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  • After Kidney Cancer Treatment

    After treatment you will need continued check-ups to check for a re-growth of cancer. After treatment, your primary care physician will perform many of the same tests used to diagnose the cancer. These visits and tests should be continued at least yearly throughout your life.

  • Protecting Your Kidney after Surgery

    If the surgery leaves you with only one kidney, you should avoid doing a few things. For example, avoid major contact sports (example football, karate or boxing), or NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, e.g., aspirin and ibuprofen). In odd cases, these drugs may cause kidney damage.

    Depending on how well your kidney functions, you may need to avoid the dyes used in some imaging tests. You may also want to limit the intake of salt and protein in your diet. Your urologist can recommend you see a Nephrologist for monitoring your kidney function after surgery.

    Treating problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity, may help prevent future kidney damage.

  • Medications for Kidney Cancer

    • Afinitor (Everolimus)
    • Afinitor Disperz (Everolimus)
    • Aldesleukin
    • Avastin (Bevacizumab)
    • Avelumab
    • Axitinib
    • Bavencio (Avelumab)
    • Bevacizumab
    • Cabometyx (Cabozantinib-S-Malate)
    • Cabozantinib-S-Malate
    • Everolimus
    • IL-2 (Aldesleukin)
    • Inlyta (Axitinib)
    • Interleukin-2 (Aldesleukin)
    • Ipilimumab
    • Jelmyto (Mitomycin)
    • Keytruda (Pembrolizumab)
    • Lenvatinib Mesylate
    • Lenvima (Lenvatinib Mesylate)
    • Mitomycin
    • Mvasi (Bevacizumab)
    • Nexavar (Sorafenib Tosylate)
    • Nivolumab
    • Opdivo (Nivolumab)
    • Pazopanib Hydrochloride
    • Pembrolizumab
    • Proleukin (Aldesleukin)
    • Sorafenib Tosylate
    • Sunitinib Malate
    • Sutent (Sunitinib Malate)
    • Temsirolimus
    • Torisel (Temsirolimus)
    • Votrient (Pazopanib Hydrochloride)
    • Yervoy (Ipilimumab)
  • Risk factors of Kidney Cancer

    Factors that may increase the risk of kidney cancer includes:

    • Older age - Your risk of kidney cancer rises as you age.
    • Smoking - Smokers have a greater risk of kidney cancer as compared to non-smokers do. The risk decreases after you quit.
    • Obesity - People who are obese have a higher risk of kidney cancer as compared to people who are considered to have a healthy weight.
    • High blood pressure (hypertension) - High blood pressure increases your risk of kidney cancer.
    • Treatment for kidney failure - People who receive long-term dialysis to treat chronic kidney failure have a higher risk of developing kidney cancer.
    • Certain inherited syndromes - People who are born with certain inherited syndromes can have an higher risk of kidney cancer, such as those who have von Hippel-Lindau disease, Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex, hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma or familial renal cancer.
    • Family history of kidney cancer - The risk of kidney cancer rises if close family members have had the disease.
  • Prevention of Kidney Cancer

    Taking steps to improve your health can help reduce your risk of kidney cancer. To reduce your risk, try to:

    • Quit smoking - If you smoke, quit. Many options for leaving exist, including support programs, medications and nicotine replacement products. Tell your primary care physician you want to quit, and discuss your alternatives together.
    • Maintain a healthy weight - Work or do exercises to maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, reduce the number of calories you consume each day and try to be physically active most days of the week. Ask your primary care physician about other healthy strategies to help you lose weight.
    • Control high blood pressure - Ask your primary care physician to check your blood pressure at your next appointment. If your blood pressure is high, you may discuss options for lowering your numbers. Lifestyle measures such as exercise, weight loss and diet changes may help. Some people may feel the need to add medications to lower their blood pressure. Discuss your options with your primary care physician.
  • If you or anyone you know is suffering from kidney cancer or any of the above symptoms, contact your cancer specialist immediately. For cancer drugs and medication in Oklahoma City, contact us for home delivery of your medications.

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