Kidney cancer, also referred to as renal cancer, manifests itself through the uncontrollable growth of a tumor on a kidney after the affected cells become malignant. Kidney cancer is normally detected earlier than other forms of cancer, before it spreads to neighboring organs. The ability to detect this condition in its early stages makes it easier to treat.
Although there are no scientifically established causes of kidney cancer, some lifestyle conditions are highly related with this ailment. Smoking is often related with this cancer; smokers are said to have twice the risk of contracting it than nonsmokers. Gender also plays a role, since men are seen to be twice at risk of being affected than women. This cancer is also more common in elderly people above the age of 40. Some drug treatments administered for an extended period of time are associated with kidney cancer. Other related factors include abuse of pain relievers, family history, exposure to harmful chemicals, kidney diseases, and obesity.
The major symptoms of kidney cancers are fever and abnormal weight loss. Patients also experience excessive fatigue without performing intensive tasks. Aches emanating from the side of the abdomen where the kidneys are found are a distinguishing symptom.
There are several basic procedures that are employed by physicians in diagnosing kidney cancer before embarking on a hi-tech confirmation test. They include using the sense of touch to search for lumps on the sides of aching abdominal areas, checking for high blood pressure, and fever. An evaluation of your health habits, previous ailments, and the subsequent treatment is also performed.
If a patient tests positive in the above examination and exhibits kidney cancer symptoms, a doctor may instruct a confirmation test to be carried out so that the relevant therapy can begin as soon as possible. Below are four tests that may be required to diagnose kidney cancer:
- Among the major tests that can confirm the growth of a cancerous tumor on the kidney is the Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP). A special dye is injected into the bloodstream, after which an X-ray scan is performed. The dye flows through the urinary system and exposes any existing growths.
- Ultrasound technology uses sound waves to produce images of internal organs. It can be employed to show the current shape of the kidney and to show if the tumor is fluid-filled or solid.
- A CT scan, which entails processing X-ray images with computers to produce finer pictures, can also be used to confirm if there exists a tumor on a kidney.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a technique that produces images of internal soft tissues by use of strong radio and magnetic waves. All these tests can as well display how far the cancer has spread to the initial or even the second kidney or the surrounding tissues. The level of its spread is the determiner of how it should be treated.
Kidney cancer is normally treated through various types of surgeries depending on how far it has spread. These treatment options commonly include: radio-nephrectomy, simple nephrectomy, partial nephrectomy, cryotherapy, and radiofrequency ablation.