Kidney Cancer Symptoms and Treatment Method
What are urological cancers?
Cancers of the organs including the kidneys, adrenal glands, the channels through which the urine produced by the kidneys flows, the urinary bladder, and the prostate gland and testicles in men, unlike women, are called “urological cancers”. We call the department that deals with these cancers “Uro-oncology”.
What is the incidence of kidney cancer?
Kidney cancer ranks third among urological cancers, after prostate and bladder cancer. It is a tumor that is much more common than testicular cancer. Kidney cancer occurs in almost one in 10 thousand people. Unfortunately, one in 30 thousand people dies every year due to kidney cancer.
What are the symptoms of kidney cancer?
Kidney cancer is a very important but treatable health problem.
Nowadays, kidney cancers are detected during imaging tests performed for other reasons before they have any symptoms. It usually has no symptoms. Rarely, pain and bleeding in the urine may occur.
The point of alarm with pain in kidney cancer is a stage when the cancer has come a long way. Therefore, detecting kidney cancer at as early a stage as possible ensures that the patient does not die from cancer and that only the cancer can be removed by preserving the kidney rather than losing it.
Seeing blood in the urine may be a sign of kidney cancer. In addition, other symptoms include the presence of a mass or a hardness in the abdomen.
We detect kidney cancer by chance during ultrasound, tomography or MRI scans requested from our patients who go to the doctor for other reasons (difficulties such as abdominal pain, gallbladder, digestive complaints). Kidney cancer can be fully treated when the tumor is at a small stage. Therefore, applying for regular check-up programs without waiting for kidney cancer to show symptoms is a situation that allows the disease to be caught at a stage where it can be treated.
What are the causes of kidney cancer?
The causes of kidney cancer are not fully known. However, there are some risk factors. Kidney cancer is generally more common in middle and older ages. It is twice as common in men as in women. Smoking, hypertension may be related to the development of kidney cancer.
Being overweight or consuming foods containing high cholesterol and excessive amounts of red meat may also pave the way for the development of kidney cancer. There are also familial cancers. For example, in families with genetic changes, cancers may develop serially, affecting both kidneys. Therefore, it is not important whether the cancer is familial or due to other reasons, but how early it is caught. As with all cancers, early diagnosis of kidney cancer is important for the success of treatment.
How is kidney cancer treated?
The most effective treatment for kidney cancer is surgery. If the disease is detected at a limited stage within the kidney, treatment of the disease is completely possible. In diseases diagnosed at a more advanced stage, drug treatment is applied after the surgical treatment of the disease. In recent years, very effective drugs that do not negatively affect the patient’s quality of life have been developed.
What is the most advanced technology in kidney operations?
Having large incisions in kidney surgery is a situation that not only causes the patient to suffer from severe pain, but also delays wound healing and return of physical capacity for a very long time, causes limitation of movement, and requires the patient to be exposed to this pain for perhaps months after leaving the hospital. There have been very important developments in recent years. It is possible to treat all stages of kidney cancer with a minimally invasive approach, robotic surgery, that is, closed surgery.
It is possible to perform these surgeries with robotic surgery through 3 or 4 thin tubes attached to the body and instruments extended through them. For masses up to a certain size (approximately 4 cm), we only remove the mass and leave the rest of the kidney functionally useful to the patient. Here, it is possible to provide cancer control and life expectancy equivalent to having the entire kidney removed. Being able to preserve a part of the kidney is already one of the important developments in medicine. In the past years, the entire kidney was removed for a very small tumor. However, now the kidney is preserved as much as possible and only the mass is removed.
How long does it take for the patient to recover?
Whether the entire kidney or part of it is removed, a patient who takes days to stand up after open surgery can be standing in the 6th hour and at home in the 48th hour after robotic surgery.
How can we protect our kidneys?
It is very important to consume enough fluids and limit salt consumption for kidney health. Unnecessary painkillers can cause serious problems in kidney function. We must also keep our blood pressure under control to protect our kidneys. High blood pressure damages the kidneys. Diabetes also negatively affects kidney health by damaging the vascular structure of the kidneys.
Therefore, blood pressure control, water consumption, limiting salt consumption, not consuming unnecessary or uncontrolled painkillers, and keeping diabetes under control are important factors for kidney health.