What is kidney cancer?

What is kidney cancer

Kidney cancer is a kind of malignancy starts in epithelium of uriniferous tubule and can happen in any parts of renal parenchyma. Normally it grows slow, except for some special cases. The primary tumor in kidney can develop step by step to encroach on the tissues and organs around or metastases to other distant organs through lymphatic vessels or veins.

The incidence of kidney cancer

Kidney cancer is a most common malignancy in urinary system, whose incidence rate accounts for 3%-6% of all malignant tumors. With a ratio about 2:1 between male and female patients, it may occur in various ages and mostly happens in the age range of 50-70.

Survival rate of kidney cancer

There are many factors affecting the survival rate of kidney cancer. Generally, the survival rate for the patients who have removed kidney within 5 years is 35%~40%, while within 10 years is 17%~30%. Since the prognosis of kidney cancer is hard to estimate so that metastases may occur 20 - 30 years or even longer after nephrectomy.

What cause kidney cancer?

Although the incidence of kidney cancer is high, the exact causes are still unknown. It may be a combined result of many risk factors.

Smokers. The risk is high for those people who have been smoking without filter for more than 30 years to develop kidney cancer.

Obesity and high blood pressure. These are the two risk factors leading to male kidney cancer.

Occupation. The incidence and death rate of kidney cancer would increase in those people involved in printing, coke, dry-clean and petrochemical processing.

Radiation. The people who have been exposed in some weak radiation for long term would increase the risk of suffering from kidney cancer.

Heredity. The ones whose family members have suffered from kidney cancer get a higher incidence.

Food and drugs. According to researches, over intake of high milk products, animal proteins and fat, less intake of vegetables and fruits are the risky factors of kidney cancer.

Kidney cancer

Absence of obvious symptoms. Currently above 40% cases are clinically found in physical checkup or other occasional examinations and do not present any obvious symptoms or physical signs. The prognosis normally is good if a kidney cancer patient from early stage takes treatments early. That is why most specialists suggest regular physical checkup.

Typical local symptoms. Hematuria, lumbar pain and abdominal tumor are thought to be the three main symptoms of kidney cancer. When these occur in a patient normally it is indicating the cancer is in late stage, though this condition happens rarely. Actually only one or two of these three symptoms would develop in most patients.

Bloody urine. Visible or microscopic bloody urine may present in about 40% patients. When the severe bloody urine or blood clots forms, a patient develops renal colic, urodynia, difficulty of urination or even urine retention.

Tumor. Kidney is deep in retroperitoneum, where it cannot be reached through abdominal touch. Only when a tumor is big enough or is in the inferior pole of kidney can be touched. Abdominal lumps can be touched in around 10~40% patients. Sometimes it can be the only symptom of kidney cancer.

Lumbar pain. When a tumor is big enough to increase the tension of renal capsule or when tumor encroaches on tissues around would cause constant dull pain in lumber, then the incidence is around 20%~40%. When related symptoms occur should a patient come to doctor for consultation and treatments without delay.

Systematic symptoms. 10%~40% patients would develop paraneoplastic syndrome, which would present as high blood pressure, anemia, weight loss, cachexia, fever, erythrocytosis, and abnormality of liver functions and so on.

Metastatic symptoms. About 10% patients come to hospital for the occurrence of metastatic symptoms like bone pain, fracture, cough, hemoptysis and other symptoms.

As the symptoms of kidney cancer vary greatly that once above symptoms occur, a patient should consult professional doctors and has related examinations in time.

What are the detections for kidney cancer?

Clinical diagnosis of kidney cancer is mainly depending on imaging examinations, and final diagnosis should be based on biopsy at least.

Imaging examinations

X-ray. Irregular enlargement of lesions in kidney and blurring image of psoas major muscle can present on plain scan of lumbar. The films of pyelography normally show the images of suppressed renal pelvis or renal calices, disfiguration or torsion.

Ultrasound scan can specifically distinguish the solid tumor and kidney cysts; additionally, it can show the range of the caner, any encroachment on the organs around, or metastases in liver and spleen if any, etc.

CT scan mostly is used to diagnose occupying lesions in kidneys and identify kidney cyst and solid tumor, whose accuracy can reach up to 95%. Apart from this, it can objectively and precisely comment on tumor size, appearance, density, bleeding, post operative tumor necrosis and liquefaction, infiltration or metastases in peripheral tissues.

NMR zeugmatographic imaging (MRI) which can clearly reveal the solid tumor of kidney and distinguish tumor from identify kidney cysts.

Pathological examination

Kidney puncture biopsy can get the pathological diagnosis early.

Treatments of kidney cancer

Treatments would be different as kidney cancer patients in different stages. And a doctor would plan out the treatment according to the physical condition of a patient. Clinically, the treatments now apply to kidney cancer are various, for instance, surgery, radiotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy or a combination of those treatments.

Surgery. There are many methods of surgery for kidney cancer, such as radical nephrectomy, partial nephrectomy and so on. If a patient condition allows, radical nephrectomy is one of the best methods.

Ar-He cryotherapy (also known as cryotherapy). Cryotherapy is a treatment develops fastest and matures in past few years. It performs under the guide of CT to inject argon and helium alternatively to freeze and heat the tumor, so as to kill the cancer cells.

Radiofrequncy ablation. It is a good choice in treating kidney cancer. Under the guide of imaging devices, it kills cancer cells rapidly by performing radiofrequency inside tumor through percutaneous puncture. Because it operates only through a small trauma and a patient recovers fast after operation that it can relieve the symptoms and improve the living quality of a patient.

Radiothearpy and chemotherapy. The therapeutic effect of general radiotherapy and chemotherapy was unconfirmed in the past. Currently Modern Cancer Hospital Guangzhou starts “minimally invasive and target therapy”, by which can locally perform radiotherapy and chemotherapy within tumor.

Immunothearpy. Immunotherapy combined with other therapies can effectively improve therapeutic effect through interferon, transfer factors and so no.

Special therapies of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Through years’ exploration and development, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can regulate the balance of body and strengthen the resistance against tumor. It can perform through the whole treatment of kidney cancer. As a treatment based on syndrome differentiation and can be combined with other therapies, TCM can reduce toxicity and enhance efficacy. TCM gives plan to therapeutic effect on depressing cancer and helps improve living quantity, and also can be even applied alone. Additionally, there are acupuncture, injection therapy, Chinese traditional manipulation, qigong and other therapies, which can help relive the symptoms and improve the therapeutic effect.

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If you still have questions about Kidney Cancer treatment, please click the following links or have online consultation with our experts to get detailed answers.

What are the treatment options for Kidney Cancer patients?

Which kind of treatment has fewer side effects?

Different treatment options for different stages of Kidney Cancer

Prevention and treatment for metastatic Kidney Cancer.

How to improve the survival time and living quality of Kidney Cancer patients?

Voice out your inquiries to online medical professionals and you shall be provided with satisfying answers.

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How We Treat Cancer?

Interventional Therapy

Interventional Therapy is a new substitute of traditional chemotherapy, which means that a physician introduces instruments such as needles or catheters (long, thin tubes) into the body through tiny(1-2 mm) incisions in the skin. The instruments are then guided by an imaging technique called fluoroscopy to the cancer tumor. In this way, the physician can deliver cancer medicine directly to the tumor.more info

Cryotherapy Therapy

Cryotherapy Therapy, also known as “Argon-Helium Knife Cryotherapy”, is a new substitute of traditional physical therapy. Practically speaking it is “extreme cold + extreme heat” cancer treatment. Generally, a minimum of 10-15 minutes is required to achieve an extreme analgesic (pain relieving) effect while lowering the temperature to the injured area, thus reducing the metabolic rate and swelling associated with tissue injury.more info

Particle Knife

Particle Knife is a new substitute of traditional radiation therapy. With the help of computer Treatment Planning System (TPS), radioactive particles will be implanted into tumors. The particles which release γ-rays can continuously kill tumor and cause destruction targeting tumor cells. With time, the radiation amount would accumulate to be large enough to destroy the DNA double strands of tumor cells.more info

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