Finding out that you or a loved one has early signs of kidney cancer can be unnerving. After receiving a diagnosis, you will want to learn more about it to discover the best ways to go about seeking a solution. This means that a new stage of life has started for you, and you want to act on it right away.
The Risk Factors for Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancer, which is also called renal cell cancer, has doctors uncertain as to the exact cause. Several risk factors, are known, however, and they include obesity, smoking, having high blood pressure, chemical exposure (asbestos, cadmium, herbicides, etc.), and long-term dialysis. Other risks are that men are about twice as likely to get it as women. Long term use of pain medications and being black also raises the risk. Genetics will also play a part.
Tests Used to Determine the Presence of Kidney Cancer
In order to be sure that kidney cancer is present, doctors will most likely order several tests. There will be the standard physical exam, and blood and urine tests. This will be followed up with a CT scan, an intravenous pyelogram, an MRI, ultrasound, and a biopsy of the kidney.
Types of Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancer comes in three main types. Children are more susceptible to Wilms’ tumors, but adults will usually get renal cell cancer. These two kinds form in the tissue that produces urine. Other forms include transitional types, and they form in the renal pelvis and ureter in adults.
Early Signs of Kidney Cancer
In the very early stages, kidney cancer often has no symptoms. As the tumor gets bigger, however, there may be blood in the urine, or a lump may be felt in the back close to the kidneys. Two other symptoms that may be seen are a constant pain near the kidney, and/or a decrease in the red blood cell count.
Treatment for Cancer of the Kidney
Many forms of treatment are used to treat cancer. This can include radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy. Chemotherapy has been shown to be the least effective against this type of cancer, but new drugs are being developed.
The Future of Kidney Cancer Treatment
New treatments continue to be developed to find a way to treat the cancer. Vaccines are being developed, and stem cell therapy is looking promising. An important key right now is to detect the cancer early, which researchers are working on currently. When detected later, the results are not going to be as good.