The human body has a pair of bean-shaped organs, located in the upper back of the abdomen one in the left and one in the right side. Above the kidneys, there is another pair of organs called; the adrenal glands and they are smaller and triangular in shape. Both kidneys receive-give blood from the renal vessels and each of them ends up in a tube called ureter. The two ureters reach the urinary bladder and from there another tube called urethra arises in order to guide the urine out of the body.
Kidney cancer is the 14th cancer worldwide! Almost 400.000 new cases were discovered in 2018! There are several types of kidney cancers as we will discuss later but there are also benign kidney tumors(non-cancerous). These are; papillary renal adenoma, oncocytoma, angiomyolipoma , and rarely metanephric adenoma, metanephric adenofibroma ,MEST,etc.
TYPES 1. Renal cell carcinoma(RCC), most common type of adult kidney cancer !(85%) 2. Wilms tumor (nephroblastoma), together with Von Hippel Lindau syndrome most common type of kidney cancer in children. 3. Transitory cell carcinoma 4. Renal sarcoma Because the most common type of kidney cancer is RCC (9 in 10 cases), all the details below are referring to that type!
RISK FACTOR 1.Family history of renal cell cancer. If a person has a family member diagnosed with RCC, then he has an increased risk to develop as well!(4x times) According to the American cancer society the risk increases if your sister or brother had renal cancer, for an unknown reason! 2. Smoking 3.Obesity (could be due to hormonal changes) 4.Older age , Gender (is about twice as common in men compared to women), 5.Race (Afro-Americans and Indian-Americans) 6.Hypertension,(it could be due to some drugs against high blood pressure) 7.Bladder cancer (in case you had cancer in your urinary bladder it seems to be associated with renal cancer appearance) 8.Renal dialysis, for many years may lead to renal carcinoma.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS Renal Cell Carcinoma is a type of cancer that develops mostly slowly and silently. That means there are no early symptoms, and in the beginning it can be discovered as a random finding during other medical examinations. As it is progresses, may appear : • Blood in the urine , called hematuria • Tiredness • Palpable mass appearance • Back pain (may be an early sign as well), below the ribs and can be persistant • High blood pressure • Night sweats • Lymph nodes swelling and bone pain, hemoptysis (due to metastasis)
STAGING OF RCC
Stage I : The tumor is less than 7cm, totally inside the kidney without any metastastis to lymph nodes and nearby organs. Stage II : The tumor is larger than 7cm but still it is located inside the kindey.It is not spread to lymph nodes , nearby organs. Stage III : In this stage the tumor starts to invade nearby structures outside the kidney (Gerotas’s fascia) and may spread to lymph nodes/nearby organs. Stage IV : The tumor now can have any size and may grow outside the kidney in other sites such as lungs, lymph nodes, bones etc.
DIAGNOSIS • Physical examination and anamnesis • Urine tests • Blood tests • Biopsy • Ultrasound • CT scan • MRI • Further investigations chest x-ray, bone scan etc. There are clinical studies upon the formation of vaccines against renal cancer!
TREATMENT Each patient needs a different therapeutical approach and your oncologist-physician will guide you properly! But the standard treatment that is used , • Surgery, a type of nephrectomy • Radiation therapy (external/internal type) • Chemotherapy (regional/systemic) • Immunotherapy • Target therapy • Clinical trials
PROGNOSIS The survival rate for kidney cancer is about 5 years based on American cancer society and SEER database (2008-2014).
KIDNEY FRIENDLY SUPERFOODS!
1. Water cannot be missed! Drink plenty of water daily because, besides all of its amazing properties it detoxifies the kidneys!
A fantastic source of fibers and another ”cleanser food”! Ps.dont forget ”an apple a day keeps the doctor away” !
3. Other fruits, such as Blubberies, strawberries contain lots of vitamins (Vit. C, A,etc.)
They protect the whole urinary tract from infections by making the urine slightly more acidic! Prefer the fresh cranberries, but if they are out of season try the freeze-dried or dried cranberries for your smoothies, yogurts and cereals!Also you may choose fresh cranberry juice!
5. Kale salad!
Is another great option to ”clean” your kidneys! It is reach in vitamins A,C prevents and boosts your immune system ,while having low potassium and high iron!
To mark Kidney Cancer Awareness, March is a month dedicated to Kidney Cancer!
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About Author: Dr. Chrysoula Valaroutsou is a Greek medical doctor graduated from UOC (english division Constanta,Romania). She is passionate about medicine and always eager to learn more. She has lots of love and loyalty towards serving mankind.
References : www.piktochart.com www.cancer.org www.who.org www.NHS.com www.pexels.com www.healthline.com , Awareness cancer society, www.123rf.com www.healthandsymptoms.com www.medgenera.com www.kidney.org