By: Dr. Thomas Incledon
Kidney cancer is one of the 10 most common cancers in the U.S. What do you need to know?
Kidney cancer occurs frequently in both men and women, and typically over the age of 64. The American Cancer Society estimates that this year, nearly 74,000 cases of kidney cancer will be diagnosed. Slightly more of these cases will affect men; the lifetime risk for developing kidney cancer in men is about 1 in 48 while for women, it is 1 in 83. As with most other cancers, the direct cause of kidney cancer is unknown, but rates have steadily risen over the past several decades. This is largely due to the advent of new technologies like the CT scan that allowed for diagnosis and treatment in cases that, otherwise, would have gone unnoticed until the person was deceased. Currently, most kidney cancers are discovered before they spread to other organs.
Having appropriate diagnostics for kidney cancer is a key tool in helping patients beat the disease since it allows for early and accurate diagnosis. It is also important that people have regular check-ups and stay in touch with their overall health. “At Causenta, we always tell people, eat foods with a wide variety of colors and fresh fruits and vegetables,” says Dr. Tom Incledon, founder & CEO of Causenta. “We also stress the importance of exercise since we know that it is a key tool in helping fight all kinds of diseases, including kidney cancer.”
Kidney cancer can occur in one or both of the body’s two kidneys, which help clean the blood to remove waste and make urine. They also make hormones that control blood pressure and create red blood cells inside bone marrow. There are three types of kidney cancer; renal cell cancer is the most common in adults. Wilms tumors are seen most in children, and transitional cell cancer will originate in the renal pelvis and ureter in adults. While they all have their own characteristics that affect treatment options, they present in similar ways.
In order to prevent kidney cancer or find it early and have the best chance for survival, people should be aware of common symptoms and risk factors. Symptoms include:
- Blood in the urine
- Loss of appetite
- Side pain that doesn’t go away
- Weight loss
- Lump in side or abdomen
- Swelling in the legs or ankles
Risk factors include:
- Using pain medicine for long durations of time
- Certain hereditary disorders, such as von Hippel-Lindau disease and Birt-Hogg-Dube (BHD) syndrome
- Exposure to workplace chemicals such as trichloroethylene and metals like cadmium
Depending on the type of kidney cancer a person has and at what stage it is found, treatment options will vary. If the cancer is localized, meaning it has not spread to other organs, options like surgery may be recommended. It is important to understand the implications of this strategy since kidneys are essential to living. Patients who have a kidney removed may have long-lasting side effects, including being placed on dialysis to have full kidney function.
In other cases, doctors may recommend chemotherapy or radiation, or a combination of treatments. This is especially true in cases with metastasis where the primary tumor may be removed, but then a course of chemotherapy is needed to target kidney cancer cells elsewhere in the body.
“At Causenta we focus on understanding every patient’s case from where they currently are to their medical history, and also their hopes and fears with treatment,” says Incledon. “Our goal is to help every kidney cancer patient get back to life feeling better than ever with no evidence of disease.”
For more information on kidney cancer treatment and alternative and supplementary cancer care with Causenta, schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation today.