Why do we discover cancers at a late stage and often without symptoms for long ?

Most cancers do not cause symptoms until  late due to the phenomenal resilience and immunity that our bodies have.

Which is why, regular checkups which lead to early detection of cancer are a must.

Most stomach cancers do not have any symptoms except  loss of appetite, acid reflux, stomach pain , feeling of  fullness  which many of us  may relate to a bout of indigestion or a stomach infection.
Kidney cancer never have symptoms at an early stage.
Early stage liver cancer symptoms are often pain on the right side of the abdomen, loss of appetite.
Pancreatic Cancers are rarely found operable unless they invade the bile duct.
Thyroid Cancer often the earliest symptom is hoarseness in the voice.
Being non specific , the symptoms are often overlooked in a patient with an early stage cancer leading to discovery at a much later stage, when the cancer is  metastatic.
With newer treatment options and newer drugs , it is possible to treat , extend and improve quality of life even at a later stage.
If you have a loved one suffering from cancer or having the above symptoms with fatigue and weight loss,  email your medical reports, consult now or write to us on info@ihealthkonnect.com
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Treatment of Kidney Cancer Surgery

Surgery as a choice of treatment will depend on the staging and spread of cancer.

Surgeries such as Radical nephrectomy removes the kidney and surrounding tissues.

Simple nephrectomy removes the kidney only.

Partial nephrectomy removes the cancer from the kidney with other surrounding tissues. Doctors may also suggest the following options to help destroy the cancer.

Arterial embolization which involves inserting something through the artery that leads to the kidney which blocks the flow of blood to the cancer cells.

Cryotherapy uses extreme cold to kill the cancer cells.

Radiofrequency ablation: This treatment procedure uses high frequency radio wave to shock and kill the tumor.

Radiation therapy treatment method uses high energy x-ray radiation or other forms of radiation to kill the cancer cells.

Cryotherapy is a non-surgical method which uses extreme cold to kill the cancer cells.

Kidney cancer treatment in India depending upon staging may include radical nephrectomy or partial nephrectomy.

Diagnosing Kidney Cancer

First off all, one need to see a doctor to examine the condition, He may carry out some physical examination before requesting further test.

Several test may be requested to ascertain the condition, these include; Urine test which shows accumulation of certain unwanted substances in the urine.

Ultrasound scan uses high frequency sound wave to determine the size , shape and contour of the kidney.

Computed tomography urogram scanning would shows detail picture of the urinary system including the kidney which makes it possible for doctors to spot any anomalies.

Cystoscopy is recommended for people with blood in their urine. Here a thin tube with eyepiece called a cystoscope is inserted into the urinary tract to produce pictures of the bladder and kidney on a TV screen connected to the cystoscope.

The cystoscope is also equipped with a small knife for cutting of tissue for histological findings.

Next Article: Treatment of kidney cancer Surgery

Types of kidney cancer

Many types of cancer can affect the kidneys but the most common type is the Renal carcinoma which accounts for more than 80% of all kidney cancers.

Another type of kidney cancer is the Urothelial cell carcinoma. This type of cancer affects the urinary system especially the kidney, urethra, ureter and the urinary bladder.

Transitional cancer of the kidney starts in the lining of the kidney and usually affects men who are 50 years if age and above.

Wilms’ Tumor is a rare type of kidney cancer that affects the children.

Other rarer form of renal cancer are the carcinoma of the collecting duct and renal medullary carcinoma.

However, kidney cancers can contain more than one type of cell.

Next Article: Diagnosing kidney cancer

Signs and Symptoms of kidney cancer

In most cases, early symptoms of kidney cancer are rare. The most common symptoms of mid to advance stage of kidney cancer are;

Blood in the urine medically referred to as Haematuria. The amount of blood in the urine is usually high enough to change the color of urine to reddish or dark brown.

Persistent pain in the side below the ribs. high blood pressure, loss of appetite, unintended weight loss, a lump or swelling in the area of the kidney on either side are the more common symptom though some patients experience night sweats and extreme tiredness.

Other Symptoms of Kidney Cancer:

  • Weight Loss
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Abdominal Lump
  • Swollen Legs and ankle
  • Anemia
  • Fever
  • Shortness of Breath, and
  • Recurring side pain are also symptoms to watch out for.

Next Article: Types of kidney cancer

Causes of Kidney Cancer, Obesity, Kidney Failure

Though the real causes of kidney cancer is unknown, certain factors has been noted to increase the risk of the disease.

  • Obesity– Being obsessed may cause hormonal imbalance which could lead to increase risk of renal cancer.
  • Smoking-Smokers have high risk of kidney cancer than non smokers. Being Male. Male stand more chance of kidney cancer than female.
  • Genetic Condition– People with Von Hippel Lindau VHL disease or renal carcinoma are subject to kidney cancer.
  • Kidney Failure-People with advanced kidney disease who are subject to dialysis treatment also stand a chance of renal malignancy.
  • Drugs– Long term use of certain drugs can also lead to kidney cancer.
  • Being Black– Kidney cancer is common among blacks than the whites.
  • Family History-This is also a factor to consider as there are several medical history proving so.

Next Article : Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

Metastatic kidney cancer

If cancer has spread to another location in the body, it is called metastatic cancer. The most common place kidney cancer spreads is to the lungs, but it can also spread to the lymph nodes, bones, liver, brain, skin, and other areas in the body.

For kidney cancer that has spread to one specific part of the body, such as the lungs, surgery may be able to completely remove the cancer. If the cancer has spread to many areas beyond the kidney, it is more difficult to treat.

Patients with this diagnosis are encouraged to talk with doctors who are experienced in treating this stage of cancer, because there can be different opinions about the best treatment plan. Learn more about getting a second opinion before starting treatment, so you are comfortable with the treatment plan chosen. This discussion may include clinical trials.

Your health care team may recommend a treatment plan that includes a combination of treatments. Currently, the most effective treatment for metastatic kidney cancer is targeted therapy that slows or prevents tumor growth and blood vessel formation. These drugs have been shown to lengthen life when compared with standard treatment.Palliative care is also important to help relieve symptoms and side effects.

For most patients, a diagnosis of metastatic cancer is very stressful and, at times, difficult to bear. Patients and their families are encouraged to talk about the way they are feeling with doctors, nurses, social workers, or other members of the health care team. It may also be helpful to talk with other patients, including through a support group.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. This type of treatment blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting damage to healthy cells. These drugs are becoming more important in the treatment of kidney cancer.

Recent studies show that not all tumors have the same targets. Many research studies are taking place now to find out more about specific molecular targets and new treatments directed at them. Learn more about the basics of targeted treatments.

  • Anti-angiogenesis therapy. This type of treatment focuses on stopping angiogenesis, which is the process of making new blood vessels. Because a tumor needs the nutrients delivered by blood vessels to grow and spread, the goal of anti-angiogenesis therapies is to “starve” the tumor. One anti-angiogenic drug, bevacizumab (Avastin), has been shown to slow tumor growth for people with metastatic renal carcinoma. Bevacizumab combined with interferon (see Immunotherapy below) slows tumor growth and spread.
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Clear cell kidney cancer has a mutation of the VHL gene that causes the cancer to make too much of a certain protein, known as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF controls the formation of new blood vessels. Drugs called TKIs help block VEGF and other chemical signals that promote the development of new blood vessels. TKIs such as pazopanib (Votrient), sorafenib (Nexavar), and sunitinib (Sutent) may be used during treatment for clear cell kidney cancer. Axitinib (Inlyta), another TKI, has been approved to treat later-stage renal cell carcinoma. Side effects of TKIs may include diarrhea, high blood pressure, and tenderness and sensitivity in the hands and feet.
  • mTOR inhibitors. Everolimus (Afinitor) and temsirolimus (Torisel) are drugs that target a certain protein that helps kidney cancer cells grow, called mTOR. Studies show that these drugs slow kidney cancer growth.

Talk with your doctor about possible side effects for each specific medication and how they can be managed. The medications used to treat cancer are continually being evaluated. Talking with your doctor is often the best way to learn about the medications prescribed for you, their purpose, and their potential side effects or interactions with other medications. Learn more about your prescriptions by using searchable drug databases.