Kidney Cancer: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
Synopsis: Information on benign and malignant kidney cancer tumors including related trials, clinical studies, and updated articles. In the human body, the Kidneys are located toward the back of the flank, with one Kidney on either side. Most people have two Kidneys, which produce urine and drain through narrow tubes called ureters into the bladder. Just above the Kidneys are the Adrenal glands, which produce essential hormones that sustain life. These hormones regulate blood pressure, stress responses, and sugar levels in the blood, and Epinephrine controls the pulse rate and blood pressure.
- Human Kidneys
Human kidneys are two reddish-brown bean-shaped organs found in vertebrates. They are located on the left and right in the retroperitoneal space and, in adult humans, are about 12 centimeters (4 1/2 inches) in length. Your kidneys remove wastes and extra fluid from your body. Your kidneys also remove acid produced by your body's cells and maintain a healthy balance of water, salts, and minerals such as sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium in your blood. Without this balance, your body's nerves, muscles, and other tissues may not work normally. Your kidneys also make hormones that help:
- Make red blood cells
- Control your blood pressure
- Keep your bones strong and healthy
Kidney cancer is cancer that originates in the kidneys. Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They're located behind your abdominal organs, with one kidney on each side of your spine. The two most common types of kidney cancer are renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the renal pelvis. These names reflect the type of cell from which cancer developed.
The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) has included Kidney Cancer (inoperable or unresectable) as a Compassionate Allowance to expedite a disability claim.
Kidney organs are responsible for eliminating waste from the blood through the urine and producing hormones, which regulate blood pressure and control red blood cell production.
In the human body, the Kidneys are located toward the back of the flank, with one Kidney on either side. Most people have two Kidneys, which produce urine and drain through narrow tubes called ureters into the bladder.
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Just above the Kidneys are the Adrenal glands, which produce essential hormones that sustain life. These hormones regulate blood pressure, stress responses, and sugar levels in the blood as well as Epinephrine, something which controls the pulse rate and blood pressure.
The body can function well enough with one Kidney and one adrenal gland if healthy. One healthy Kidney and one healthy Adrenal gland allow for the removal of one entire Kidney and Adrenal gland, if necessary, to remove cancer located in the kidney area. If a patient has poor kidney function before the development of Kidney cancer, it might not be possible to remove one kidney and still have normal function.
The Kidney is held inside the Gerota's Fascia, a fibrous sheath.
Inside, the Gerota's Fascia is a layer of fat that surrounds the Kidney. The layer of fat is thin and covers the outer surface of the Kidney, somewhat like the outer layer of an apple. A primary vein drains the kidney, called a 'renal vein,' and merges with the vein that takes blood to the heart, called the 'Vena Cava.' The word 'renal' means Kidney. An Adrenal gland is located above each Kidney within Gerota's Fascia.
Types of Kidney Tumors: Benign and Malignant
The words 'mass,' 'lesion,'' and 'tumor' are often used interchangeably. Tumors may be 'Benign,' meaning that the tumor is not cancerous, or 'Malignant,' meaning that it is cancerous.
Cysts are the most common type of Kidney tumor and are fluid-filled. Simple Cysts are benign and usually do not require follow-up treatment; they typically appear in imaging studies. On the other hand, Complex Cysts might be cancerous; they also do not have a typically benign appearance in imaging studies. If a Complex Cyst is found, treatment is determined individually.
One other form of Kidney tumor is a solid Kidney Tumor, named because it is not fluid-filled. A Solid Kidney Tumor may or may not be benign; they are typically malignant. Over ninety percent of all Solid Kidney, Tumors are malignant.
Kidney Cancer Statistics
Kidney cancer is the seventh most common cancer and the tenth most common cause of cancer death for men, and it is the tenth most common cause of cancer for women. Most people with kidney cancer are older. The average age of people when they are diagnosed is 64. Kidney cancer is very uncommon in people younger than age 45.
Slightly more men than women find themselves battling Kidney cancer and are usually diagnosed with it between the ages of fifty and seventy. However, it can happen at any age. For adults, the most common form of Kidney Cancer is 'Renal Cell Carcinoma,' also known as 'Renal Adenocarcinoma' or 'Hypernephroma.'
The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for kidney cancer in the United States are for 2015:
- It is estimated that 14,080 deaths (9,070 men and 5,010 women) from this disease will occur this year.
- Prevalence of this cancer: In 2011, an estimated 358,603 people were living with kidney and renal pelvis cancer in the United States.
- This year, an estimated 61,560 adults (38,270 men and 23,290 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with kidney and renal pelvic cancer.
- Renal cell cancer incidence rates are high in Europe and North America and low in Asia and South America. In contrast, there is generally less geographic variation for rarer renal pelvis cancers.
- Lifetime Risk of Developing Cancer: Approximately 1.6 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with kidney and renal pelvis cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2009-2011 data.
- In the United States, renal cell cancer incidence rates increased, while renal pelvis cancer rates decreased over time. Much of the increases in renal cell cancer are due to a diagnosis of early-stage tumors, suggesting that heightened surveillance may play a role.
- Number of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The number of new kidney and renal pelvis cancer cases was 15.5 per 100,000 men and women per year. The number of deaths was 4.0 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2007-2011 cases and deaths.
These numbers include all types of kidney and renal pelvis cancers.
- Six thousand six hundred British citizens are diagnosed with Kidney cancer every year, and three thousand six hundred people in Britain die from Kidney cancer annually.
- Many people in Britain believe the number of Kidney cancer deaths is even higher and suspect the number of deaths from Kidney cancer reported is incorrect.
Labeled Cross-Section of a Human Kidney
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Can Older Adults Safely Donate Kidneys?
With increasing organ demand, living kidney donation from older donors has become more common. A new Clinical Transplantation study indicates that kidney donation among carefully selected adults over 60 poses minimal perioperative risks and no added risk of long-term kidney failure.
A combination of an aging population and an overwhelming kidney transplant waitlist will necessarily compel transplant centers to accept older donors to expand the donor pool.
"What this study demonstrates is that carefully selected older kidney donors are at no higher risk, short-term or long-term than their younger counterparts, and this finding has the potential to expand the donor pool by making accessible a whole segment of the population that previously was perceived high-risk for donation," said lead author Dr. Oscar Serrano, of the University of Minnesota - Wiley
Signs Symptoms of Kidney Cancer
The most common signs and symptoms of kidney cancer are a mass in the abdomen or blood in the urine (or hematuria). Other symptoms may include tiredness, loss of appetite, weight loss, high temperature, heavy sweating, and pain in the abdomen. However, many of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, and there may also be no signs or symptoms in a person with kidney cancer, especially in the early stages of the disease.
Treatment for Kidney Cancer
A Kidney imaging study is one of the first things a doctor usually orders when a Kidney Tumor is suspected and takes the form of a CT Scan, an MRI, or an Ultrasound. Occasionally, a doctor will order a combination of these imaging tests so that they may obtain a complete evaluation of the tumor. If the doctor suspects a tumor is cancerous, they will evaluate the patient to determine if cancer has spread beyond the kidney. A biopsy may be performed in the case of Renal Cell Carcinoma.
Doctors discourage available biopsies of kidney cancer for many reasons, including the potential for false negative readings, the vascularity of the tissue, as well as the fact that if it is cancerous, it can, in rare cases, spread along the exit path of the needle used to obtain the biopsy.
When a biopsy is performed, a doctor removes a tissue sample so that they may examine it underneath a microscope. When examined under a microscope, two distinct cell types are visible. These cell types include Clear Cells, Granular Cells, or 'Sarcomatoid' cells. Cancer cells are a mixture of both forms of cells. The kinds of cells usually do not influence the outcome following treatment, but in some studies, certain medication results in improved outcomes for patients who have Clear Cell Carcinoma.
Treatment for kidney cancer depends on the type and stage of the disease. Surgery is typically the mainstay of treatment and usually doesn't involve chemotherapy and radiotherapy, as kidney cancers often do not respond to these treatments.
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Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide disability news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and/or carers. See our homepage for informative reviews, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can connect with us on social media such as X.com and our Facebook page.
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Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2023, January 29). Kidney Cancer: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment. Disabled World. Retrieved December 4, 2023 from www.disabled-world.com/health/cancer/kidney/
Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are never meant to substitute for qualified professional medical care. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.