Kidney Cancer: One among top 10 prevalent cancers

Estimates show that 1 in 63 people will develop the disease in their lifetime

It's important to get oneself screened after 40 at least once a year for the disease, say doctors | Courtesy: freepik.com

Jodie hadn’t been well for about a year, and one day she saw blood in her urine. By the end of the day, she ended up in emergency due to excessive pain. There she was told that she has kidney stones which would pass in a couple of days. When they didn’t, she followed up with her doctor, who sent her for further scans.

Jodi was in shock when the specialist told her she had kidney cancer, according to her story on cancercouncil.com. This is not an isolated case.

Kidney cancer is one of the top ten most prevalent cancers in men and women around the world. Men however are twice more likely to develop this type of cancer than women. Estimates show that 1 in 63 people will develop the disease in their lifetime, according to cytecare.com.

Thus, to create awareness among people regarding the cause of kidney cancer and the importance of caution, early detection, World Kidney Cancer Day is celebrated on June 16, each year.

A report in The Indian Express, quotes Dr. Priyadarshi Ranjan, Director, Urology, Robotics and Kidney Transplant, Fortis Mohali. He says: “Renal cancer is one of the most common cancers prevalent in the country. As a majority of cases remain undetected, it is important to get oneself screened after 40 at least once a year. This cancer can only be detected through screening and ultrasound.”

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A study by the National Library of Medicine reveals that Renal Cell Carcinoma is more frequent among younger people in India.

The need of the hour is to spread awareness among the masses regarding Kidney Cancer in order to promote prudence and prevent the disease from entering the fatal stage.

The four types of Kidney Cancer

  1. Renal Cell Carcinoma:  The carcinoma which develops in the patient’s renal tubes forms the majority of kidney cancers.

2. Renal Sarcoma: A rare form of cancer is found mostly in the body’s connective tissues.

3. Transitional Cell Carcinoma: Cancer develops in the renal pelvis or the ureter. A rare form of cancer, it usually develops due to overdose on certain drugs.

4. Wilm’s Tumor: Occurs mostly among children in the 3-4 age group.

There is a need for awareness to prevent the cancer | Courtesy: freepik.com

Probable causes of Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer may be caused due to environmental as well as genetic reasons.

Certain inherited DNA changes can increase the risk of this cancer. The VHL gene is a tumour suppressor. It prevents cells from forming tumours due to uncontrolled growth. Any mutations in this gene can lead to abnormal cell growth which can then lead to cancer. The gene mutations can be inherited from the parents.

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Other factors such as exposure to cigarette smoke can also promote kidney cancer. Hypertension, improper diet and obesity are some other factors. Barbecuing meat can also increase the risk of this cancer.

Treatment options

According to nhs.uk.co, treatment depends on the size of cancer and whether it has metastasized or not.

The main treatment options are:

1)Surgery to remove the afflicted parts

2)Ablation therapy to destroy the cancer cells by freezing or heating

3)Targeted therapies where medicines are used to stop the growth of cancer

4)Embolisation procedure to cut off blood supply to the cancer cells.

5)Radiotherapy wherein high-energy radiations are used to target cancer cells and relieve symptoms.

One can lower their risk of kidney cancer by maintaining low blood pressure, a healthy body weight, eating a healthy diet low in fat and quitting smoking.

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