Kidney cancer: renal cell carcinoma
There are two commonly found types of kidney cancer. Of these, renal cell carcinoma is the most frequently occurring, and accounts for almost four fifths of all kidney cancer cases. Renal cell carcinoma is a type of kidney cancer that begins in the lining of the tubes of the kidneys that are used in the blood filtering process. Renal cell carcinoma has a high mortality rate, and is considered to be the most challenging of all of the tumours found in this area. If found early on, when the tumour is confined to the renal area, approximately 60-70% will survive the critical five year stage. However, in cases where cancer has spread, survival rates are much lower.
The symptoms of kidney cancer are varied, but often include blood in an individual’s urine, an aching pain in the kidney area, a lump or swollen area in the kidney area, loss of weight, feverishness, and a general feeling of tiredness. However, while these symptoms are indicative of kidney cancer, they may also be indicative of other illnesses, and should be assessed by a qualified individual who can help make a diagnosis and prescribe appropriate treatment. Kidney cancer diagnosis is often done via means of a physical examination, through blood and urine tests, scans, ultrasounds, and biopsies.
There are a number of risk factors associated with kidney cancer, including smoking and obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), undergoing long-term kidney dialysis, and being diagnosed with the rare genetic Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome. Other risk factors include gender, with men tending to be diagnosed more often than women, and occupation, with some industrial workers tending to have a higher likelihood of developing kidney cancer.
The treatment of kidney cancer is extremely difficult, as renal cell carcinoma cancers cannot be treated by standard cancer treatment processes such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Surgery is used where possible as a treatment, but its efficacy depends on the spread and the aggressiveness of the tumour. A number of new treatments have been trialled and have been found to potentially halt the spread of kidney cancer, but have not yet been found to improve the survival rates of kidney cancer victims. One type of therapy, immunotherapy, however, has been found to have some efficacy in some cancer cases, and points to the value of a strong immune system in helping to fight cancer and prevent its growth. Some alternative therapies, such as those outlined on this site, may be of benefit to those suffering from kidney cancer, or those who are currently in remission from kidney cancer.