Renal cell carcinoma is a type of kidney cancer commonly seen in adults. In this type of cancer, cells in the kidneys grow and divide uncontrollably, forming a tumor. This tumor can invade nearby tissues and potentially spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, bones, or liver. There are several sub types of kidney cancers, with renal cell carcinoma being the most common. Over the years, the incidence of kidney cancer seems to be increasing.
About Kidney Cancer
This cancer occurs when healthy cells in the kidney start to become cancerous. Cancer begins when cells in a particular body part grow out of control. Adults and children can both develop Kidney cancer. The significant types of kidney cancers are renal cell cancer, transitional cell cancer, and Wilms tumor. (Source & Reference)
What are the Causes of Renal Cancer
Although many risk factors can increase the chance of developing renal cell cancer (RCC), it is unclear how some risk factors cause kidney cells to become cancerous. Any changes in the DNA of cells of the liver can result in abnormal cell growth and may form cancerous cells. DNA mutations or other changes can cause cancer. DNA changes in your cells could be inherited from a parent or acquired during a person’s lifetime. Changes in oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes can lead to cells growing out of control. Some people inherit DNA mutations from their parents that significantly increase their risk for certain cancers. Even some of the cells can break off and metastasize to different parts of the body. (Source & Reference)
- Smoking: Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes can increase the risk of kidney cancer. Though, quitting on time might lower the risk of kidney cancer.
- Obesity: If you are overweight and have high blood pressure, your chances of kidney cancer will be very high.
- Family history: If you have a family or personal history of kidney cancer, then your chances of kidney cancer are much high.
- Kidney Disease: If you have advanced kidney disease like von Hippel-Lindau disease, this condition could also be counted as a risk factor for kidney cancer.
- Genetic and hereditary syndromes: like Hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma, Hereditary leiomyoma-renal cell carcinoma, Birt-Hogg-Dube (BHD) syndrome, Familial renal cancer, Cowden syndrome, and Tuberous sclerosis are also risk factors for kidney cancer. (Source & Reference)
If you are experiencing any one or multiple following symptoms, Kindly check with your medical specialist immediately:
- If you have observed any trace of blood in your urine, it is a sign. Do not ignore the sign, and contact your doctor today.
- You might experience bloating or swelling around the kidney area due to the cancerous tumor. This is also a very prominent symptom
- Prolonged back pain, fatigue, frequent fever, loss of appetite, and rapid weight loss are symptoms. (Source & Reference)
If you have symptoms, You will need more tests and scans to check for cancer if the general physician refers you to a specialist. First, there will be a medical history and physical examination. After that below-mentioned tests will be required to detect any cancerous development in your kidney:
- Blood tests are not used for direct diagnosis of this cancer. Blood tests will help to understand if the kidney is functioning normally.
- Urinalysis (urine testing) your urine will be tested to check if there is any problem in the kidney
- Imaging tests will be done first to check a detailed image of the kidney to detect any trace of cancerous growth or abnormality:
- Computed tomography (CT) scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
- Chest x-ray
- Bone scan
- Kidney biopsy: To diagnose most cancer, a biopsy is mandatory, but for renal cancer, a biopsy is optional. (Source & Reference)
- Avoid and stop smoking. If you find it challenging to quit smoking and take the help of medications. Avoiding smoke can highly prevent you from this cancer.
- Maintain a healthy weight and diet. Exercise daily and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables in order to prevent the cancer. (Source & Reference)
Global Incidence: Kidney cancer is among the top ten most common cancers in both men and women worldwide. The incidence rates vary across regions, with higher rates observed in North America, Western Europe, and Australia.
Staging: Kidney cancer is staged based on the size of the tumor, whether it has spread to nearby lymph nodes or organs, and if it has metastasized to distant sites. Staging helps determine the appropriate treatment approach.
Risk: On average, the risk of developing kidney cancer in men is about 1 in 46 (2.02%). The risk for women over their lifetime is about 1 in 80 (1.03%).
Survival Rates: The prognosis for kidney cancer varies depending on factors such as the stage at diagnosis and the individual’s overall health. Early detection and treatment offer better chances of favorable outcomes. The five-year survival rate for localized kidney cancer is generally high, while the survival rate decreases if the cancer has spread to distant organs.
Prevention: While it is not always possible to prevent kidney cancer, certain lifestyle choices may help reduce the risk. These include maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, managing blood pressure, and minimizing exposure to occupational toxins when possible.
Regular Monitoring: Individuals who have been treated for kidney cancer require regular follow-up care to monitor for any signs of recurrence or new developments. Routine check-ups, imaging studies, and blood tests are typically part of the monitoring process.
Common treatment approaches for kidney cancer include surgery to remove part or all of the affected kidney, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and in some cases, chemotherapy. The choice of treatment is determined by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, and the goal is to remove or destroy the cancer cells and prevent the cancer from spreading or recurring.
Regular follow-up care is crucial for individuals who have been treated for kidney cancer to monitor for any signs of recurrence or new developments. Early detection and prompt treatment can improve the chances of successful outcomes and long-term survival rates for individuals with kidney cancer.