Kidney cancer is cancer that begins 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.
In adults, renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer. Other less common types of kidney cancer can occur. Young children are more likely to develop a kind of kidney cancer called Wilms' tumor.
The incidence of kidney cancer seems to be increasing. One reason for this may be the fact that imaging techniques such as computerized tomography (CT) scans are being used more often. These tests may lead to the accidental discovery of more kidney cancers. Kidney cancer is often discovered at an early stage, when the cancer is small and confined to the kidney.
Kidney cancer usually doesn't have signs or symptoms in its early stages. In time, signs and symptoms may develop, including:
It's not clear what causes most kidney cancers.
Doctors know that kidney cancer begins when some kidney cells develop changes (mutations) in their DNA. A cell's DNA contains the instructions that tell a cell what to do. The changes tell the cells to grow and divide rapidly. The accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor that can extend beyond the kidney. Some cells can break off and spread (metastasize) to distant parts of the body.
Your medical history, general health, the size, location of cancer and many other factors are considered in determining the treatment needed.
Surgery: Is the standard treatment for most cases of adult kidney cancers that have not spread to distant areas of the body. Based on location, size your doctor will decide if only a part of the kidney (partial nephrectomy) or entire kidney needs to be removed (radical nephrectomy). This operation can be done by traditional open technique or by keyhole incisions (laparoscopic), and this will be decided based on CT scan and technical accessibility of the tumor. The goal of partial nephrectomy is to remove the entire tumor while preserving as much normal kidney tissue as possible.
Immunotherapy: This group of drugs stimulates your immune system to attack cancer. These drugs are used in patients where the tumor has spread beyond the kidney to other organs. But it has shown some decrease in tumor size in only 20% of patients. These drugs are given intravenously either before or after nephrectomy.
Targeted Agents: These drugs cause the vessels supplying the tumor to regress. It can slow the progress of kidney cancer and allow patients to live longer. These drugs are taken orally but they can be associated with side effects including fatigue, hypertension, and skin problems. But most patients are able to tolerate these drugs fairly well and appear to benefit from them. Like immunotherapy, these drugs can be used either before or after nephrectomy. The other drawback is these drugs are expensive at present.
Factors that can increase the risk of kidney cancer include:
Taking steps to improve your health may help reduce your risk of kidney cancer. To reduce your risk, try to:
Prepared by: SHAFIKAH RAHIM
Blok Utara, Pusat Pengajaran dan Latihan (Aras 1)
Hospital Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah
Persiaran Mardi - Upm,