Targeted Therapy For Kidney Cancer
Targeted therapy drugs work on the changes in cells that cause cancer. These drugs affect mainly cancer cells and not normal cells in the body. They may work even if other treatments dont. They come as pills that you take at home or may be given through a vein. These drugs have different side effects than chemo.
Side effects of targeted therapy
Side effects of targeted therapy depend on which drug is used. These drugs can make you feel sick to your stomach and cause low blood counts. They can also cause high blood pressure and skin changes of the hands and feet. These side effects usually go away after treatment ends.
There are ways to treat most of the side effects caused by targeted therapy. If you have side effects, talk to your cancer care team so they can help.
Surgery For Kidney Cancer
Surgery is used to treat most kidney cancers. There are many ways to do this surgery. Talk to your doctor about how the surgery will be done. Any type of surgery can have risks and side effects. Be sure to ask the doctor what you can expect. If you have problems, let your doctors know. Doctors who treat people with kidney cancer should be able to help you with any problems that come up.
What Are The Signs Of Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancer may not produce any noticeable symptoms in its early stages. But as the tumor grows, symptoms may begin to appear. For that reason, kidney cancer often isnt diagnosed until it has begun to spread.
Kidney cancer symptoms may include:
- Blood in your pee .
- A lump or mass in your kidney area.
- High calcium.
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Other Possible Risk Factors
There are also a number of other possible risk factors for developing kidney cancer, including:
- mild painkillers some mild painkillers have been linked to an increased risk of developing kidney cancer NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, may slightly increase the risk, although occasional use or low doses are unlikely to be harmful
- kidney disease if you have kidney failure and need to have regular dialysis , your risk of developing kidney cysts and kidney cancer is increased
- high blood pressure high blood pressure is a known risk factor for kidney disease, and you’re up to twice as likely to develop kidney cancer if you have raised blood pressure
Other Types Of Kidney Cancer
Some rare types of cancer arise from other types of cell within the kidney. For example:
- Transitional cell cancers are cancers which arise from transitional cells. These are cells which line the renal pelvis, ureters and bladder. Transitional cell cancer is common in the bladder but in some cases it develops in the renal pelvis.
- Wilms’ tumour and clear cell sarcoma of the kidney are types of kidney cancer which develop only in children.
The rest of this leaflet only discusses renal cell cancer.
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What Are The Four Different Stages Of Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancer stages include
- Stage I: Tumor is confined to the kidney and is up to 2 34 inches in diameter.
- Stage II: Tumor is confined to the kidney but is larger than a stage I tumor.
- Stage III: Tumor extends beyond the kidney into surrounding tissue, major veins, and nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage IV: Cancer has spread outside the kidney to one or more lymph nodes or other organs, such as the bowel, pancreas, or lungs.
The urologist may order additional tests to determine the size of the cancer and whether cancer cells have spread within the body. Tests may include additional computed tomography scans or other imaging tests.
What Are Kidney Tumors
A tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue or liquid found in the body. Tumors that are found attached to the kidneys, an organ that helps to clean the blood that circulates through the body, are known as kidney or renal tumors. Renal tumors occur very rarely in children.
While the main cause of renal tumors in children is cancer, most tumors are discovered before they spread to other organs in the body, called metastasis. In cases of kidney cancer in children, most are not diagnosed until the tumor becomes quite large. As with many cancers, when the tumor mass reaches a certain size, it can cause swelling and pain. This is usually when the cancer is discovered.
The Urologic Tumor Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado treats a range of renal tumors in kids, from common types to extremely rare cases.
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Diagnosed With Kidney Cancer
We understand the anxiety that a diagnosis of kidney cancer can bring to the patient and their family. The most important thingone can do is to learn about this disease and enlist the help of an experienced team of physicians.
About 1/3 of kidney cancers are diagnosed after the disease has spread to other organs.
The first step is to obtain a “staging” evaluation to determine the extent of cancer. This typically entails obtaining imaging of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis and comprehensive blood work. Bone scans and evaluations of the brain are obtained depending on symptoms and the results of the initial studies.
PET scans are rarely obtained due to their lack of sensitivity for detecting kidney cancer.
How Serious Is A Tumor On The Kidney
It depends. Some kidney tumors are benign . These tumors are generally smaller than cancerous tumors and dont spread to other parts of your body. Surgical removal is the most common treatment for noncancerous kidney tumors.
Whether your kidney tumor is cancerous or noncancerous, you should move forward with treatment as soon as possible to avoid complications.
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Radiation Therapy To Kill Cancer Cells
During the procedure known as radiofrequency ablation, a specialized probe will be introduced through the patients skin and into the kidney tumor. Ultrasound or other imaging techniques will be used to guide the placement of the probe. The needle is inserted into the cancerous tissue, and then an electrical current is passed via the needle and into the cancer cells. This causes the cancer cells to either heat up or burn.
Kidney Cancer: Symptoms And Signs
ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. Use the menu to see other pages.
Often, kidney cancer is found when a person has an imaging test, such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging , or computed tomography scan , for another reason. In its earliest stages, kidney cancer causes no pain. Therefore, symptoms of the disease usually appear when the tumor grows large and begins to affect nearby organs.
People with kidney cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. Symptoms are changes that you can feel in your body. Signs are changes in something measured, like by taking your blood pressure or doing a lab test. Together, symptoms and signs can help describe a medical problem. Sometimes, people with kidney cancer do not have any of the symptoms and signs described below. In other cases, the cause of a symptom or sign may be a medical condition that is not cancer.
Blood in the urine
Unexplained weight loss
Fever that keeps coming back and is not from a cold, flu, or other infection
In the testicles, a rapid development of a cluster of enlarged veins, known as a varicocele, around a testicle, particularly the right testicle, may indicate that a large kidney tumor may be present
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After Renal Cell Cancer Has Been Diagnosed Tests Are Done To Find Out If Cancer Cells Have Spread Within The Kidney Or To Other Parts Of The Body
The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the kidney or to otherparts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from thestaging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to knowthe stage in order to plan treatment. The following tests andprocedures may be used in the staging process:
- CT scan : A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, such as the chest or brain, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
- MRI : A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, such as the brain. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging .
- Chest x-ray: An x-ray of the organs and bones inside the chest. An x-ray is a type of energy beam that can go through the body and onto film, making a picture of areas inside the body.
- Bone scan: A procedure to check if there are rapidly dividing cells, such as cancer cells, in the bone. A very small amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein and travels through the bloodstream. The radioactive material collects in the bones with cancer and is detected by a scanner.
Other Types Of Non Clear Cell Kidney Cancer
- Transitional cell carcinoma : They are also known as urothelial carcinomas. TCCs do not start in the kidney but in the transitional cells in the lining of the renal pelvis. This cancer can look like other types of urothelial cancer such as bladder cancer. However, people with TCC will often have the same symptoms as people with kidney cancer, like blood in the urine and back pain. TCC is rare and can be aggressive.
- Wilms tumor : This tumor almost always occurs in children and is very rare in adults. About 90% of kidney cancers in children are Wilms tumors.
- Renal sarcoma: This is a rare type of kidney cancer that begins in the blood vessels or connective tissue of the kidney.
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Cancer May Spread From Where It Began To Other Parts Of The Body
- Lymph system. The cancer gets into the lymph system, travels through the lymph vessels, and forms a tumor in another part of the body.
- Blood. The cancer gets into the blood, travels through the blood vessels, and forms a tumor in another part of the body.
The metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if renal cell cancer spreads to the bone, the cancer cells in the bone are actually cancerous renal cells. The disease is metastatic renal cell cancer, not bone cancer.
Chemo For Kidney Cancer
Chemo is the short word for chemotherapy which are drugs to fight cancer. The drugs may be given into a vein or taken as pills. These drugs go into the blood and spread through the body. They kill cells that grow fast, such as cancer cells and even good cells, like those in the gut and hair. Chemo is given in cycles or rounds. Each round of treatment is followed by a break. Chemo doesnt work well for kidney cancer, but it may be tried if other treatments dont work.
Side effects of chemo
Chemo can make you feel tired, sick to your stomach, or cause your hair to fall out. But these problems go away after treatment ends.
There are ways to treat most chemo side effects. If you have side effects, be sure to tell your cancer care team so they can help.
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Symptoms Of Kidney Cancer
In many cases, there are no obvious symptoms at first and kidney cancer may only be found during tests for another condition or reason.
If there are symptoms, they can include:
- blood in your pee you may notice your pee is darker than usual or reddish in colour
- a persistent pain in your lower back or side, just below your ribs
- a lump or swelling in your side
How Does The Doctor Know I Have Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancers dont usually cause any signs or symptoms, but sometimes they might. Symptoms of kidney cancer may be:
- Blood in the urine
- Losing weight, if youre not trying to lose weight
- Fever thats not from a cold and that doesnt go away
Talk to a doctor if you notice any of these problems. Your doctor will ask you questions about your health and do an exam.
If signs are pointing to kidney cancer, more tests will be done. Here are some of the tests you may need:
Urinalysis: Urine is checked in the lab to see if there are blood or cancer cells in it
Blood chemistry tests: These tests show how well the kidneys are working.
Complete blood count :This test measures the number of blood cells in the blood, like white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. People with kidney cancer often have low red blood cell counts.
Chest x-ray: X-rays may be done to see if the cancer has spread to your lungs.
CT scan: This is also called a CAT scan. It uses a special kind of x-ray that takes detailed pictures of your insides to see if the cancer has spread.
MRI scan: This testuses radio waves and strong magnets instead of x-rays to make pictures that look at the soft tissue parts of the body. This test may be used to see if the cancer has spread.
There are many types of biopsies. Ask your doctor what kind you may need. Each type has risks and benefits. The choice of which type to use depends on your own case.
Grading kidney cancer
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How We Treat Pediatric Renal Tumors
Most pediatric kidney cancers are treatable, and many can be cured. We treat kidney tumors in kids with a surgery known as a nephrectomy, which removes the tumor.
Treating kidney tumors in kids and teens requires close observation by an oncologist, a medical physician specialized in cancer. It may also require further surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and routine imaging to see if the cancer has spread or returned.
The Following Stages Are Used For Renal Cell Cancer:
In stage III, one of the following is found:
- the cancer in the kidney is any size and cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes or
- cancer has spread to blood vessels in or near the kidney , to the fat around the structures in the kidney that collect urine, or to the layer of fatty tissue around the kidney. Cancer may have spread to nearby lymph nodes.
In stage IV, one of the following is found:
- cancer has spread beyond the layer of fatty tissue around the kidney and may have spread into the adrenal gland above the kidney with cancer or to nearby lymph nodes or
- cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, liver, lungs, brain, adrenal glands, or distant lymph nodes.
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Patients May Want To Think About Taking Part In A Clinical Trial
For some patients, taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice. Clinical trials are part of the cancer research process. Clinical trials are done to find out if new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard treatment.
Many of today’s standard treatments for cancer are based on earlier clinical trials. Patients who take part in a clinical trial may receive the standard treatment or be among the first to receive a new treatment.
Patients who take part in clinical trials also help improve the way cancer will be treated in the future. Even when clinical trials do not lead to effective new treatments, they often answer important questions and help move research forward.
Assessing The Extent And Spread
If you are found to have a kidney cancer then other tests are likely to be advised. These may include one or more of: a CT scan or magnetic resonance imaging scan of the abdomen and chest, a chest X-ray, kidney function blood tests and sometimes other tests. This assessment is called staging of the cancer.
The aim of staging is to find out:
- How much the tumour in the kidney has grown and whether it has grown to the edge, or through the outer part of the kidney.
- Whether the cancer has spread to local lymph glands .
- Whether the cancer has spread to other areas of the body .
Finding out the stage of the cancer helps doctors to advise on the best treatment options. It also gives a reasonable indication of outlook . See the separate leaflet called Stages of Cancer for more details.