Treating Kidney Cancer

Over the years the rate of kidney cancer has risen worldwide. According to statistics from the World Cancer Research Fund, the disease is ranked among the top ten most common cancers in both genders. However, the overall lifetime risk of kidney cancer is higher in men than in women. With these statistics in mind, an understanding of kidney cancer, or renal cancer, is vital for recognizing the early warning signs and seeking proper right treatment.

In most cases, kidney cancer first appears in the tubal lining of the kidney. There have been numerous cases where the cancer is identified in its early stages. Cancer detected in early stages is easier to manage and treat. In other cases where it is not detected early, the cancer tumor grows and spreads to nearby tissues or organs, leading to a lower mortality rate among patients. The most common early warning symptoms of kidney cancer are:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Swelling of the legs or ankles
  • Blood in urine
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Extreme Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anemia
  • A lump in the abdomen or side torso

An individual with any of the above symptoms is highly advised to seek medical consultation for kidney cancer screening. The CT scan has been most effective in detecting early stages of renal cancer. However, people with high risk (i.e., family history or patients undergoing long-term dialysis for chronic kidney failure) should get regular kidney cancer screening. If diagnosed with kidney cancer, these treatments may be prescribed:

1. Medication for kidney cancer
Kidney cancer medications are administered to the patient according to the cancer stage. Cancer stage is the extent of growth of cancer in the kidneys. The various stages range from stage 1 (typically a small manageable tumor) to stage 4 (a large tumor that has metastasized to other tissues or organs). Kidney cancer medications in stage 4 become a challenge to manage if the cancer has spread to other crucial organs in the body (i.e., lungs and the liver).

2. Surgery
Surgeries for treating kidney cancer may vary depending on the stage of cancer and the health of the patient. The simplest surgery for treating kidney cancer is partial nephrectomy, in which the kidney is removed along with the tissue around it. This surgery is most common in patients with small manageable tumors. In simple nephrectomy, the kidney is the only organ removed.
In a more severe case, the doctors offer the option of a radical nephrectomy where the adrenal gland is removed in addition to the kidney, the lymph nodes, and the surrounding tissues. This surgery can be done with a laparoscope via a small incision.

3. Cancer therapies
There are extreme cases that warrant various therapies that kill the cancer tumor. These are done in extreme cases. They include:

  • Cryotherapy, or the cold freezing and killing of cancerous cells.
  • Radiofrequency, which employs high energy radio waves.
  • Lifestyle therapies which reduce symptoms and the chances of recurrent kidney cancer.