How is kidney cancer diagnosed | How is kidney cancer treated | What Is kidney cancer | Kidny Cancer Treatment | Kidney Cancer National Cancer Institute | Kidney Cancer Causes
The kidneys are a pair of organs on either side of the spine in the lower abdomen. Each kidney is about the size of a fist. Attached to the top of each kidney is an adrenal gland. A mass of fatty tissue and an outer layer of fibrous tissue (Gerota’s fascia) enclose the kidneys and adrenal glands.
The kidneys are part of the urinary tract. They make urine by removing wastes and extra water from the blood. Urine collects in a hollow space (renal pelvis) in the middle of each kidney. It passes from the renal pelvis into the bladder through a tube called a ureter. Urine leaves the body through another tube (the urethra).
The kidneys also make substances that help control blood pressure and the production of red blood cells.
Types Of Kidney Cancer
There are several types of kidney cancer. In renal cell carcinoma (RCC), which makes up approximately 85 percent of all cases, the tumor develops in the lining of the small tubes within the kidneys, where the blood is filtered and the urine produced. Less common is transitional cell carcinoma, which develops in the tissues that connect the kidneys to the bladder. Wilms’ tumor, a type of kidney cancer affecting children, accounts for approximately 6 percent of pediatric cancers.
Certain factors are associated with increased susceptibility to kidney cancer. Smokers are at a much higher risk it’s estimated that as many as one in four kidney cancers are caused by smoking. Other risk factors include age RCC is most common in adults 50-70, sex men are diagnosed at twice the rate of women, a high-fat diet, obesity, high blood pressure, long-term dialysis treatment, exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace including asbestos and cadmium, and a family history of kidney cancer certain hereditary conditions such as Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome have been implicated.
Surgery and Treatment Options
Treatment options for kidney cancer after a diagnosis have expanded dramatically. When the kidney cancer is in the early stage, surgery can remove the affected kidney (radical nephrectomy), or may spare the kidney while removing the tumor. Such surgery can also be performed laparoscopically – a minimally invasive approach associated with less pain and more rapid recovery than the open surgery. For smaller tumors located at the outer edge of the kidney, laparoscopy can also be used to perform cryotherapy – freezing the tumor, under ultrasound guidance, to kill the cancer cells while preserving the normal tissue.
Advanced kidney cancer, surgery may be followed by immunotherapy – administering interleukin-2 or interferon to stimulate an immune response against the tumor. In addition, new targeted therapies (drugs that, unlike the more toxic chemotherapy, aim specifically at killing cancer cells without harming normal cells) represent a major advance with the potential to revolutionize the treatment of advanced kidney cancer. Since 2005, three targeted therapies have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating advanced kidney cancer: Sunitinib (Sutent), and Sorafenib (Nexavar), and Temsirolimus (Torisel), and a fourth, Avastin, approved for treating colorectal and lung cancers, is also being tested for kidney cancer. There are numerous advantages to these newer therapies. They can be easily administered orally in the form of a pill. These treatments are generally well tolerated and produce fewer side effects than traditional therapies. Although these therapies have only been FDA approved for the treatment of metastatic kidney cancer; there are several clinical trials investigating their use as a treatment for high risk patients (patients who are identified as being at a higher risk of developing recurrent kidney disease) as well as in combination with immunotherapy.
kidney cancer patients in whom surgery alone or in combination with one of the established medication regimens is not curative, enrolling in a clinical trial can offer hope by providing access to cutting-edge treatments. One closely watched clinical trial involves a genetic vaccine for kidney cancer patients, developed at UCLA and being tested through the National Cancer Institute’s Rapid Access to Intervention Development program. The goal of this novel tumor vaccine is to stimulate a patient’s immune system to attack one’s own kidney tumor. The treatment is based on the use of a patient’s own immune cells that have been genetically engineered to express carbonic anhydrase IX (CA IX), a novel RCC-associated protein that is expressed in almost all RCC tumors but not in normal kidney tissue. Based on nearly 10 years of work, this treatment will soon be ready for patients on an experimental protocol being performed only at UCLA.
kidney cancer doesn’t have early symptoms. However, see your health care provider if you notice
* Blood in your urine
* A lump in your abdomen
* Unexplained weight loss
* Pain in your side
* Loss of appetite
Treatment depends on your age, your overall health and how advanced the cancer is. It might include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or biologic therapy. Biologic therapy boosts your body’s own ability to fight cancer.
Sometimes this orderly process goes wrong. New cells form when the body does not need them, and old cells do not die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor.
Tumors can be benign or malignant:
* Benign tumors are not cancer:
1. Benign tumors are rarely life threatening.
2. Usually, benign tumors can be removed, and they seldom grow back.
3. Cells from benign tumors do not invade tissues around them or spread to other parts of the body.
* Malignant tumors are cancer:
4. Malignant tumors are generally more serious than benign tumors. They may be life threatening.
5. Malignant tumors often can be removed, but they can grow back.
6. Cells from malignant tumors can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Also, cancer cells can break away from a malignant tumor and enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system. That is how cancer cells spread from the original cancer (primary tumor) to form new tumors in other organs. The spread of cancer is called metastasis.
Estimated new cases and deaths from kidney (renal cell and renal pelvis) cancer in the United States in 2009:
New cases: 49,096