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Kidney Cancer

  • What is Kidney Cancer?

    The kidneys are bean-shaped organs located on each side of the spine, just behind the intestines. They act as filters to remove excess fluid, electrolytes and waste from the blood, and keep only the important elements. Different types of cancer can develop in the kidney.

    Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults. It starts in the lining of tubules (very small tubes) in the kidneys and starts growing uncontrollably to form a single mass within the kidney. More than one tumour can develop in one or both kidneys. This cancer occurs mainly in men aged 50 – 70 years old.

  • There are no known causes for kidney cancer. There are, however, some risk factors that may increase the chances of developing kidney cancer. These include:

    • Age (between 50 – 70 years of age)
    • Gender (men are more prone than women)
    • Race (African, Americans and Chinese)
    • Smoking
  • The symptoms of kidney cancer include:

    • Anaemia
    • Back pain
    • Blood in the urine (could also be a sign of other diseases)
    • Tiredness
    • Fever
    • Flank pain
    • Lump on one side of the tummy
    • Weight loss
  • If the kidney cancer is still in the early stages, the most efficient treatment includes:

    • Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy, a minimally invasive surgery to completely remove all or the affected parts of the kidney (this can potentially cure the patient).

    If the kidney cancer is advanced and has spread outside the kidney, and depending on the person's condition, the treatment might include a combination of the following:

    • Immunotherapy to fight the cancer cells using the body’s immune system
    • Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy to stop the bleeding and pain from the cancer
    • Radiation therapy, which may be used to reduce pain and stop the bleeding from the cancer (not very effective)
    • Targeted therapy that uses agents to block blood supply to cancer cells
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