Cancer of the kidneys is amongst the ten most common types of Cancer. There are many types of renal cancer with Renal cell carcinoma being the most common amongst them. Renal cancer is said to be triggered by a genetic mutation but the cause for this mutation is yet unknown. While kidney cancer appears suddenly in some cases, in others it is inherited from the parents. Here are 4 things you should know about cancer of the kidneys.
Along with a mutation of the genes which is beyond our control, some lifestyle factors can also increase a person’s risk of suffering from renal cancer. Some of these factors are:
An early diagnosis can make the treatment of renal cancer much easier than if it is left undiagnosed. Hence, it becomes important to recognise the symptoms of this disease. Common renal cancer symptoms include:
These symptoms are common to a number of other diseases as well and hence if you experience them, it is best to get yourself checked out by a doctor. In order to confirm a diagnosis, your doctor is likely to ask for blood tests, urine tests, an ultrasound and a CT scan or an MRI. In most cases, your doctor will also schedule a biopsy to check for cancer cells in the kidney tissue.
Stages of kidney cancer
Once cancer has been diagnosed, your doctor will need to determine the extent of damage caused in order to find the best form of treatment for the disease. Stages of kidney cancer are determined by the size of the tumour and on how much it has spread from the original location. There are four stages of kidney cancer.
Stage I – When the cancer cells are restricted to the kidneys and the tumour is no bigger than 3” in diameter
Stage II – The tumour has grown bigger in size but is still restricted to the kidney
Stage III – The tumour may be big or small but has spread to at least one lymph node or has affected the blood vessels
Stage IV – The cancerous cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes or other organs or the tumour has grown through the fatty layer and outer fibrous layer of the kidney.
Kidney cancer can be cured easily if detected in the early stages by removing the tumour and adjacent tissue or the entire kidney if need be. Removing one kidney is not fatal as a person can live a healthy life with a single kidney.