Renal cell carcinoma is a cancer of the kidneys. In fact, it’s the most common and likely cancer of the kidneys, since it makes up 90% of kidney cancer cases. Renal cell carcinoma can be difficult to determine and diagnose at first. There’s no simple test to determine if it exists. Most cases of renal cell carcinoma are actually due to CT scans looking at other issues.
Like most forms of cancer, it’s possible for renal cell carcinoma to spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. Also like other cancers, the earlier it’s discovered, the earlier treatment can be started and more effective it can be. The best defense against renal cell carcinoma may simply be knowledge. Knowing what to look for and knowing how to reduce your risk of getting renal cell carcinoma can go a long way.
While there’s no specific cause for renal cell carcinoma, there’s several risk factors which can increase the chance that someone may end up getting it. By minimizing exposure to the risk factors, there’s the chance to minimize the chance of ending up with renal cell carcinoma. People are at a higher risk if they are smokers, and if they are obese. Several inherited diseases come with an increased risk of renal cell carcinoma. Family history can also be a warning sign. High blood pressure is a glaring warning sign, as is being treated for chronic kidney failure. Certain dangerous substances that people may be exposed to while working can also increase the risk. The final risk factor is age. As people age, the chances they will get renal cell carcinoma increases.
So what can be done to minimize risk factors? Obviously smokers need to quit smoking. It’s shown that the risk immediately goes down upon ending that awful habit. Quitting can be difficult, but it’s important. Keeping high blood pressure under control is another important thing that can be done. This may require a change in diet, additional exercise or potentially some prescription medication. Several of those tips also help with fighting obesity. Maintaining a healthy weight through proper exercise and diet will help fight the chance of acquiring renal cell carcinoma.
Renal cell carcinoma symptoms can be very mild to non existent during the early stages of renal cell carcinoma. These symptoms become more serious as the condition evolves. More serious cases may start with blood in the urine. This causes the urine to take on a variety of colors, ranging from pink to brown depending on the amount of blood involved.
Other symptoms can involve pain in the back and side, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and an intermittent fever. If any signs or symptoms are exhibiting themselves, it’s best to make an appointment with a doctor to determine if they may be for renal cell carcinoma.
There are several renal cell carcinoma treatments. Treatment will usually consist of surgery. Surgery can either be the removal of the entire kidney, or the removal of the cancerous area only. The goal is to keep as much function in the kidney as possible. Smaller tumors are more likely to feature a partial removal. Smaller tumors can be removed in other ways as well. Cryoablation features the insertion of a needle with cold gas. This can freeze and eliminate cancerous cells. The opposite is radiofrequency ablation. A needle is used to apply an electric current to the cancerous cells, which in turn can burn up.
Outlook for kidney cancer varies by patient. It’s possible for the cancer to spread to other parts of the body or recur. If that’s the case, then it’s possible that other treatments like radiation therapy, targeted therapy or biological therapy may be required. Being diagnosed with cancer is a difficult thing. It’s important to establish a support system and take care of your mental health just as much as it is to get treatments for physical health.