Kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer is a disease in which kidney cells turn malignant (cancerous) and form a tumour. Renal cell carcinoma is a type of kidney cancer where the cancer of the kidney appears in the tubules (tiny tubes) in the kidney. Kidney cancers can be diagnosed and treated early, preventing it from spreading.
Symptoms of kidney cancer include blood in urine, a lump in your abdomen or side, side pain that would not go away, fever and extreme lethargy.
Imaging tests such as computerised tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imagine (MRI) are used to diagnose kidney cancer.
Treatment will depend on the stage of cancer, the type of cancer, the side effects, patient’s preferences and overall health. Treatments include: Active surveillance, Immunotherapy (also called biologic therapy, it is suppose to boost the patient’s immune system using the body’s natural materials) , Targeted therapy (treatment that targets the cancer’s specific genes, proteins or tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth while limiting damage to healthy cells), Chemotherapy (the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells), Radiation therapy (use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to destroy cancer cells) and Surgery.
Surgery involves the removal of the tumour and some surrounding healthy tissue during the oepration. This option is mainly for patients whose cancer has not spread beyond the kidneys. Surgery used for kidney cancer includes:
- RADICAL NEPHRECTOMY
Surgery to remove the tumour, the entire kidney and surrounding tissues. If nearby tissue and surrounding lymph nodes are also affected by the cancer, a radical nephrectomy and lymph node dissection is performed.
- PARTIAL NEPHRECTONY
Surgery to remove kidney tumour. A partial nephrectomy preserves the kidney function. This surgery is effective for some tumours. It is associated with fewer side effects and a faster recovery.
- LAPAROSCOPIC AND ROBOTIC SURGERY
During a laparoscopic surgery, a surgeon makes a few small incisions rather than the traditional 1 large incision in the abdomen. The surgeon then inserts a telescopic equipment into the small keyhole incisions to completely or partially remove the kidney. Sometimes, the surgeon uses robotic instruments during the surgery.
Renal cysts are sacs of fluid that form in the kidneys. They are also known as “simple” cysts chracterised by a thin wall and contain water-like fluid. They are fairly common and usaully do not cause any harm or symptoms.
They rarely do cause any symptoms but if they do, they can cause backaches, fever or abdominal pain.
Renal cysts are discovered mostly during imaging tests such as an abdominal ultrasound or pelvic ultrasound.
Renal cysts generally do not require any treatment unless they are causing symptoms or impeding the kidney function. In such cases, doctors will either perform Sclerotherapy (Also known as Percutaneous Alcohol Ablation where the doctor inserts a long needle through the skin and into the cyst under ultrasound guidance and drain the cyst. The doctor will then fill it with an alcohol-based solution that causes the tissue to harden and shrink thereby reducing the chance of recurrence.) or Surgery. Surgery involves the surgeon making a small incision and accessing the cyst with a laparoscope. The surgeon will drain the cyst and burn or cut away the outer layer of the cyst.
Urinary stones are hard masses that form inside your kidneys. They are actually mineral deposits. They occur due to many reasons and can occur in any part of the urinary tract- from kidneys to bladder. There are kidney and ureteric stones and bladder stones. Treatment will depend on the type of stone and their location.
Stones especially smaller stones can cause excruciating pain. This is known as renal colic where an intense pain can be felt in the area between the ribs and hips, it spreads across the abdomen and extends to the genital area. The pain is usally intermittent. Other symptoms include nausea, vomitting, blood in urine, fever and painful urination.
A computed tomography (CT) scan is often used to diagnose urinary stones. It can locate a stone and the degree to which the stone is blocking the urinary tract.
Treatment will depend on the type, the size, the location of the stone and the symptoms that patient has. Most kidney stones will not recover invasive treatment. They may be able to passed out by drinking water alone and using pain medications and medication to help pass the stones. For large stones causing symptoms, more invasive procedures may have to be performed.
- URETEROSCOPY AND LASER LITHOTRIPSY (URS & LL)
A thin lighted scope known as the ureteroscope is inserted through your urethra and bladder to your ureter. Once the stone is located, a laser beam will break it into pieces that will then be passed in your urine. A stent is inserted in the ureter to relieve swelling and help healing. This is the most common endoscopic procedure performed for the treatment of kidney stones which provide patients with a quick relief of symptoms.
- EXTRACORPOREAL SHOCK WAVE LITHOTRIPSY (ESWL)
ESWL uses sound waves to create strong vibrations (shock waves) that break the stones to smaller fragments that can be passed in your urine. However, depending on the type and size of stone, this treatment may not be suitable. Doctor will access patient before recommending the best treatment to ensure a better stone clearance rate.
- PERCUTANEOUS NEPHROLITHOTOMY (PCNL)
PCNL involves surgically removing a kidney stone using small instruments inserted through a small cut in your back. This procedure is used for larger kidney stones.