This page consist of many factors that deal with Kidney Cancer.
Causes of Kidney Cancer
Smoking cigarettes, pipes, and cigars are srongly associated with the developement of kidney cancer. People who work around coke ovens may increase risk for developing kidney cancer also. Studies have shown that coke oven workers are more likely than the general public to develop kindey cancer.
Researchers continue to look at other occupational hazards such as exposure to hydrocarbons. They are also looking at lifestyle factors such as caffeine, alcohol, diet and obesity to determine which ones increase a person's chances for developing kidney cancer. Since tobacca and kidney cancer have been linked together, it is definitely one more reason to give up smoking.
Detection and Diagnosis
The earliest sign of kidney cancer may be hematuria (blood in the urine). Although bloody or dark urines may be caused by conditions other than cancer, anyone who passes blood in the urine should immediatlely see a physician.
Later symtoms of kidney cancer include pain in the side or a lump in the abdomen. If your physician suspects the symptoms are caused by cancer, a series of diagnostic tests will be ordered.
Many of these procedures are done at a hospital or a clinic on an out-patient basis:
1. Intravenous Pyelography (IVP)
Dye is injected into a vein in the arm and circulates through the body to the kidney. It then concentrates in the urine, outlines teh kidney's structure on X-ray film and reveals any changes to the organ's shape.
Similiar to an IVP, nephrotomography is a series of X-rays that reconstructs a three-dimensional picture of the kidney and any abnormality that may be present.
3. Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT Scan)
A narrow X-ray beam is instructed by a computer to revolve around the patient's abdomen. Within seconds, thousands of bits of information are registered, translated by the machine into a cross-sectional picture and displayed on a viewing screen. This test may show timor invasion of surrounding structures, or enlarged lymph glands, and has become the most useful single test before surgery.
This diagnostic technique may be ordered to determine whether a suspicious mass is a tumor or a cyst (a fluid-filled cavity). Ultrasound is based on the principles of sonar, echoes of sound waves bounce off internal organs. A computer registers the waves and translates them into pictures that reveal teh kidney's internal structure.
5. Selective Renal Arteriography
Selective renal arterioghraphy helps determine whether or not a suspected tumor is likely to be cancer. A catheter is gently inserted into the femoral artery in the groin area and a dye is injected through it into the bloodstream. The dye advances to the kidney where on a series of X-ray films, it highlights the pattern of veins and arteries that criss-cross the kidney and tumor. Prior to the procedure, a mild local sedative is given to ease the slight discomfort; afterwards, the person is observed for a few hours before leaving the hospital. With the introduction of the CAT scan, this test is not always required.
A biopsy of the kidney is used to positively confirm the diagnosis of cancer; however, X-ray tests are usually sufficiently reliable that biopsy of operable tumors can be avoided. During this procedure, a small piece of tissue is surgically removed from the tumor and cells from this sample are studied under the microscope. Biopsies are usually performed under sedation in a hospital.
7. Bone Scan
During a bone scan, radioactive dye is injected into the bloodstream; it it concentrates where large numbers of cancer cells are clustered and is measured by a scanning machine that maps radioactivity in the body.
Each person's treatment is different. The patient's health, medical history, along with the location, size and extent of the tumor are reviewed before treatment begins.
Surgery is the primary treatment for kidney cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body. Since the 1950s radical nephrectomy--portions of the surrounding tissue, and nearby lymph glands are removed--has been the major type of surgery performed. The other kidney generally takes up the functions formerly shared by both. Advances in surgical techniques and anesthesia as well as improved medical care now make this kind of surgery possible for people once considered too old.
Radiotherapy consists of giving a dose of radiation to cancer which will result in their destruction with minimal damage to surrounding normal tissue. It may cause diarrhea, nausea, tiredness, and vomiting. These side effects, however, usually disappear with rest and good nutrition.
This page was last updated on 12-17-98