Causes & Risk Factors For Kidney Cancer: Symptoms & Treatment

Kidney cancer originates in the kidneys. The commonest type is the renal cell carcinoma. Children are more prone to develop the Wilms’ tumor.

Research shows that the prevalence of kidney cancer seems to be rising. One possible contributing factor for this could be the fact that imaging techniques such as – CT scans are being used oftener. These investigative procedures lead to a chance detection of kidney tumors.

The precise cause for renal cell carcinoma is quite unclear. The malignancy starts when some kidney cells show DNA mutations. This makes the cells multiply anomalously and rapidly.

The build up of these abnormal cells forms a tumor mass which may extend further than the kidney as well. Some cells break off and metastasize to remote portions of the body too.

Factors that raise your risk of getting kidney cancer are:

  • The risk of developing cancer of the kidneys increases with advancing age.
  • Those who smoke have a bigger risk of getting renal cancer than non smokers. The risk for the cancer diminishes once you quit.
  • People who are over-weight and obese are known to have a greater risk than people who are average weight.
  • Having high blood pressure increases your risk of kidney cancer as well.
  • Those who are put on to dialysis to treat chronic renal failure are at a huge risk of developing kidney cancer.
  • Those who have certain congenital inherited syndromes are known to have an increased risk – Birt Hogg Dube syndrome, familial papillary renal cell carcinoma and tuberous sclerosis.

Symptoms Of Advanced Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer rarely causes any clinical features in the initial stages. In the later stages, the signs and symptoms which develop are:

  • Back pain just below the ribs
  • Urine in the blood
  • Exhaustion
  • Loss of weight
  • Sporadic episodes of fever

Treatment Options For Kidney Cancer

You need to confer with your health care provider and decide on the most suitable treatment options. The treatment regimen depends upon several factors – the type of malignancy, your age, your general health, whether the cancer has spread and your preference.

  • Excising out the affected kidney is usually advocated. Radical nephrectomy comprises of – removal of the kidney, the adjacent healthy tissue and the nearby lymph nodes. It may be an open operation, or may be carried out laparoscopically, using several small incisions to insert a video camera and tiny surgical tools.
  • Sometimes the doctor may recommend removing the tumor mass from the kidney; the procedure is called partial nephrectomy. Kidney sparing surgery is done for small kidney cancers.
  • Radiation therapy may be used in conjunct with surgery as well. Radiation therapy makes use of high powered energy beams to destroy the malignant cells. It is employed to decrease the symptoms of kidney cancer which has spread to other areas of the body.
  • Chemotherapy is used to manage renal cancer as well. A combination of powerful drugs is used to annihilate the cancer cells.
  • Those diagnosed with renal cancer experience a lot of stress during treatment. Complementary and alternative therapies can help you deal with the distress – Yoga and Pranayama, art, meditation, and music therapy.