Cancer

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Kidney Cancer


Kidney Cancer


There are different types of kidney cancer. About 90% of kidney cancers (9 out of 10) are renal cell cancers (RCC), sometimes called renal adenocarcinoma. They start in the cells that line very small tubes, called tubules, in the kidney cortex. There are different types of renal cell cancer. The most common type is clear cell renal cancer. Less common types are papillary, chromophobe and collecting duct renal cancer. Another type of cancer that can affect the kidneys starts in the cells that line the renal pelvis, where the kidney joins with the ureter. These cancers, sometimes called transitional cell cancers, behave and are treated differently to renal cell cancer.

Cause & Risk


Kidney cancers that are small don’t usually cause symptoms, because they can’t be felt or seen. Early kidney cancers are often diagnosed by chance when people are having tests or scans for some other reason. Some possible symptoms are: Blood in the urine (haematuria) - it's very important to get this checked by your doctor A lump in an area of the kidney that's found during an examination A dull pain in the side between your upper abdomen and back Having an on-going high temperature, night sweats, feeling very tired, or losing weight for no obvious reason.


Symptoms


Kidney cancers that are small don’t usually cause symptoms, because they can’t be felt or seen. Early kidney cancers are often diagnosed by chance when people are having tests or scans for some other reason. Some possible symptoms are: Blood in the urine (haematuria) - it's very important to get this checked by your doctor A lump in an area of the kidney that's found during an examination A dull pain in the side between your upper abdomen and back Having an on-going high temperature, night sweats, feeling very tired, or losing weight for no obvious reason.


Treatment and Diagnosis


Your doctor should refer you to see a specialist at the hospital if you have blood in your urine. It is important that you tell the doctor if anyone else in your family has had kidney cancer. This could help the doctor decide what tests to do. The specialist will begin by asking you about your medical history and symptoms. If your urine test has picked up blood the doctor will do more urine tests. You will be asked to have more blood tests. It is important for the doctor to take a look at your kidneys with one of the following tests Ultrasound CT urogram Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) You will probably need to have a cystoscopy so that the doctor can check inside your bladder to make sure that any blood in your urine isn't coming from there.


Early Stage: Surgery is the main treatment for kidney cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body. Stage 1 and 2 kidney cancers are contained within the kidney and are often cured with surgery. Stage 3 cancers have spread into a nearby lymph node, the adrenal gland or the major vein leading to the kidney. They are called locally advanced kidney cancers and can sometimes be cured if it is possible to remove all the cancer. If the cancer is small, surgeons usually try to just remove the tumour and leave behind as much of the kidney as possible. They call this partial nephrectomy or nephron sparing surgery. The nephron is the part of the kidney that filters the blood to make urine. If the cancer is larger than 7cm or so your surgeon may remove the whole kidney (a complete nephrectomy). If the cancer has spread into nearby lymph nodes, the adrenal gland, or the vein leading to the kidney, your surgeon will remove them during the surgery. If there is a risk of the cancer coming back in the kidney area after surgery your doctor may recommend radiotherapy to the area. There is information about radiotherapy in this section.


Advanced: The most commonly used treatments for advanced kidney cancer are biological therapies. These are drugs that change the processes within cells and can stop or slow the growth of the cancer. They can sometimes shrink a cancer down. Biological therapies can control an advanced kidney cancer for months or in some people sometimes for years. This can also help to reduce or get rid of any symptoms that you have.


Further Information


Coping with your diagnosis It can be very difficult to cope with a diagnosis of kidney cancer, both practically and emotionally. At first, you are likely to feel very upset, frightened and confused. Or you may feel that things are out of your control. It is very important to get the right information about your type of cancer and how it is best treated. People who are well informed about their illness and treatment are more able to make decisions and cope with what happens.


Recommended Links


Cancer Research UK page on Kidney Cancer: http://bit.ly/17Io41G

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