EARLY WARNING SIGNS OF KIDNEY CANCER
APRIL 17, 2019 @11.58 AM
The kidney is a bean-shaped organ located on the either side of the body beneath the rib cage. The most common function associated with kidney is the production of urine. The other important function carried out by the kidney include retaining salt and water, regulation of blood pressure, stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells and also in the calcium and phosphorus metabolism.
Dr S A Balan (pix) Consultant Urologist Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur explained that
there are many types of cancer that can affect the kidney.
The most common variant of kidney cancer is the clear type renal cell carcinoma (RCC) which is seen in more than 80 per cent of individuals. Other tumours which can involve the kidney include transitional cell carcinoma, Wilms tumour (kidney cancer that affects children), metastasis from other tumours and lymphoma.
Most times the tumour is found incidentally when being screened for other condition. Some individuals come with complains of having painless haematuria (blood in the urine).
“There might also be a swelling or a lump on the side of the kidney and sometimes persistent dull aching pain in case the tumour is very large.”
Other symptoms include a general sense of feeling unwell, left testicular swelling in men (this is due to the tumour blocking the testicular vein which is draining into the left renal vein) and anaemia due to bleeding from the tumour.
There are various modality by which this condition can be diagnosed. The most common one include an ultrasound scan which can detect the change in size of the kidney. A CT scan intravenous contrast might also be performed to help in the management and planning of the treatment.
“Treatment options may include radical nephrectomy - removal of the kidney along with the neighbouring fat covering it, partial nephrectomy - removal of the cancer tissue without removing the whole kidney – this option depends on the size and location of the tumour, immunotherapy (in advanced cases, there might be a need to start the patient on immunotherapy and look at the response for the treatment. Nephrectomy may or may not be done at a later date), radiotherapy and chemotherapy. However, this modality of treatment is rarely done for primary tumour,” he said.
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