What Is Kidney Cancer?

Kidney Cancer is a type of cancer that attacks the kidneys. Kidney is an organ in the body that serves to filter the dirt from the blood and convert it into urine. Humans have two kidneys located on either side of the waist below the rib cage. Cancer usually attacks only one kidney. Kidney cancer is mostly suffered by people who have aged 50 years and over. In the early stages usually no symptoms are felt. At an advanced stage, a person suffering from this disease can feel pain and swelling around the waist area.

In addition, the symptoms of kidney cancer can be:
  • Changed urine color becomes reddish or brown because it has been mixed with blood.
  • Weight loss.
  • Lack of blood or anemia.
  • The body feels tired.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Exit sweat at night.
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure.
  • Swelling of blood vessels around the testes (if kidney cancer suffered by men).
  • High fever.
The severity of kidney cancer is generally characterized by the TNM system. The letter T indicates how much cancer tissue (tumor) has grown, including:
  • T1a (if the tumor diameter is less than 4 cm).
  • T1b (if the diameter of the tumor has reached the size of 4 to 7 cm).
  • T2 (if the tumor diameter is more than 7 cm but has not spread out the kidneys).
  • T3a (when the tumor has spread to the fat layer around the kidneys or has spread to the adrenal gland).
  • T3b (when the tumor has spread into the renal vein or to the main vein / cava vein).
  • T3c (when the spread of the tumor has passed through the diaphragm).
  • T4 (when the spread of the tumor has passed through a layer of hard tissue that protects the kidneys).
While the letter N indicates whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the kidney, including:
  • N0 (the absence of cancer cells in the lymph node).
  • N1 (cancer cells already present in one lymph node).
  • N2 (cancer cells already present in two or more lymph nodes).
And the last letter, the letter M, indicates whether the cancer cells have spread to other body parts. Here is the distribution:
  • M0 (indicating that cancer cells have not spread to other body parts).
  • M1 (indicating that the cancer has spread to other body parts).

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Causes of Kidney Cancer
Cancer occurs when cells in the human body grow uncontrollably. In the case of kidney cancer, the cause is unknown. Although not yet known, there are a number of factors that can increase the risk of kidney cancer, including:
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Have a family member with kidney cancer.
  • Smoke.
  • Hypertension.
In addition to these factors, kidney cancer is also suspected to occur due to side effects of dialysis treatment in cases of renal failure and side effects of painkillers (eg non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs), although the risk is very small.

Diagnosis of Kidney Cancer
If you experience symptoms of kidney cancer, such as persistent pain in the area of ​​the waist and urine with blood, immediately see a doctor for examination.
The doctor may check blood and urine first to confirm the condition of the kidney experienced by the patient. This means that symptoms are not necessarily the patient's symptoms due to cancer and may be due to kidney stones or other kidney infections.

Just like a cystoscopy examination, this method may be done if the doctor suspects blood in the urine because of problems in the bladder.

If it turns out that the cause of the symptoms is not due to infection, kidney stone disease, or other conditions, then the doctor can perform further examination to detect the presence of kidney cancer, such as:
  • Ultrasound
  • Biopsy
  • CT scan and MRI scan
  • X-ray examination
Kidney Cancer Treatment
The main method of treating kidney cancer is surgery. There are two kinds of surgery, first is nephrectomy. Through this procedure, the doctor will attempt to remove cancer cells by removing a portion of the kidney or even entirely, depending on the size of the tumor diameter.
If the diameter of the tumor is still less than 4 cm, then some parts of the kidneys affected by cancer will be cut by the doctor. Conversely, if the tumor diameter is more than 4 cm, then the kidney should be removed and then the patient will live with one kidney.

Another type of handling is embolization. This procedure is performed by injecting a special substance into the renal vein to inhibit blood flow. With the dissolution of the supply of nutrients or oxygen into the kidney, then gradually the tumor will shrink.

In addition, currently a variety of drugs are being developed to treat kidney cancer, such as:
  • Sunitinib. This drug works by inhibiting protein kinase (an enzyme that helps the growth of cancer cells) so that the development of cancer can be stopped.
  • Sorafenib and pazopanib. In addition to working like sunitinib, which inhibits the enzyme tyrosine kinase, both drugs are also able to prevent cancer cells to grow blood vessels.
  • Axitinib. These drugs are usually used as an alternative by doctors when giving sunitinib or pazopanib is not effective. This drug has not yet entered Indonesia.
  • Temsirolimus and everolimus. Both of these drugs work by inhibiting or interfere with the function of MTOR proteins present in cancer cells, so the number of cancer cells is not more and more.
In addition to the use of drugs, ways of handling in cases of kidney cancer also include:
  • Radiotherapy. Although procedures that use radiation from this radioactive energy can not cure cancer completely, radiotherapy can reduce pain felt by the patient and can slow the progression of cancer.
  • Radiofrequency ablation. This method is often applied by doctors if the severity of kidney cancer is still low (early stage). On the other hand, this step is taken because the patient's condition does not allow for surgery or the position of the cancer is too close to the intestine. In this method, cancer cells will be destroyed by the heat generated from radio waves.
  • Cryotherapy. Almost the same as radiofrequency ablation, cryotherapy is performed if the patient's condition does not allow for surgery, for example due to less fit or the size of the tumor is still small. In this method, cancer cells are killed by frozen.

Kidney Cancer Prevention
  • We can minimize the risk of kidney cancer by applying a healthy lifestyle, such as:
  • Stop smoking or avoid cigarette smoke.
  • Eat foods rich in fiber, such as grains, vegetables, and fruits, and eat foods that are low in fat and salt. In addition, increase the consumption of salmon, sardines, and mackerel because vitamin D content in fish oil can reduce the risk of cancer.
Do regular exercise for 2.5 hours a week, such as cycling, brisk walking, swimming or running.
If you are obese, reduce your weight to avoid kidney cancer by combining regular exercise and healthy eating.

Kidney Cancer Prognosis
The success rate of treatment and the lifespan of people with kidney cancer depends on the aggressiveness and severity of the disease when diagnosed. If the kidney cancer is still in its initial phase when diagnosed, then the chances of the sufferer to live longer will be greater than those whose cancer has entered the middle or severe phase when diagnosed. Often the surgical removal of the kidneys is able to complete the disease and the patient can lead a healthy life even with one kidney.

It is estimated that as many as nearly 90 percent of patients with early stage kidney cancer who successfully diagnosed doctors, can live at least five years into the future. While in cases of cancer that has spread beyond the kidneys when diagnosed, patients who are able to live at least 5 years into the future is estimated to reach 70 percent.

Life expectancy is considered better when compared with cases of kidney cancer is diagnosed severely, that is when cancer cells have gnawed a number of other organs. Opportunities to live at least five years into the future is estimated at only 10 percent.

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