Diagnosis and Treatment in Sarasota
Kidney cancer is also known as renal cancer. The cancerous cells tend to begin in the tiny tubes of the kidney, which is diagnosed as renal cell carcinoma, hence the name “renal cancer”. Luckily, in most cases, kidney cancer is found before they spread.
Kidney cancer is actually the 6th most common cancer in men, but women can get kidney cancer, too. About only 4% of cancer cases are diagnosed to be kidney cancer, however this tends to affect a specific demographic, so understanding risk factors is very important.
Risk Factors of Kidney Cancer
It’s very unlikely that you’ll get kidney cancer if you don’t fall into a couple of these categories:
- Over the age of 50
- You have advanced kidney disease
- Family history of kidney cancer
- High blood pressure
- African American
Keep in mind, having these risk factors doesn’t mean that any of them cause kidney cancer on their own, they just increase the risk of it happening. However, if you can remove some of these risk factors, you can greatly reduce your chances of getting kidney cancer, such as losing weight, quitting smoking and reducing blood pressure. Those ones specifically also have a plethora of other health benefits.
Symptoms of Renal Cell Carcinoma (Kidney Cancer)
Kidney cancer, also referred to as renal cell carcinoma (RCC), is among the top 10 cancers found in men. About 40,000 new cases are reported each year, with a majority of them being in men over 40, who fall into the high-risk category. The good news is that there’s a very high survival rate, so it’s important to look for the warning signs to diagnose the disease early.
The most common symptoms tend to show up in the lower back area, or are evident in urine.
1. Blood in your urine
This is the most common symptom and typically the earliest sign of kidney cancer. Even the slightest amount of blood will affect the color of your urine, giving it either a brown or pink discoloration. You may also experience difficult or painful urination.
2. Pain or discomfort in your side or back of the abdomen
This is a persistent, strong pain in your side that may be accompanied by a lump as well.
3. A loss of appetite
Kidney cancer may cause a loss of appetite and in turn a sudden weight loss not caused by conscious dieting.
4. An unexplained fever lasting longer than normal
This fever is different than others as it typically lasts for weeks and there isn’t a specific cause to associate it with such as a cold or other infection.
5. Extreme fatigue and weakness
People with kidney cancer experience constant and extreme tiredness and a feeling of weakness throughout the body.
Who is at high risk for kidney cancer?
Doctors are still unable to pinpoint the exact cause of kidney cancer, however they have picked up on a few common factors that may increase one’s risk. The number one factor is age. Kidney cancer is more prevalent in people over the age of 40 and continues to increase with each passing year. Other risk factors that may increase your chance of getting kidney cancer include:
- High blood pressure
- Being male
- Being obese or having diabetes
- Genetic conditions/ family history of kidney cancer
- Race (rates are higher in African-American and Hispanic individuals)
Note that these symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have kidney cancer, but if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and also fit into a few of the risk factors above, consult with Dr. Kaplon about getting a screening.
Diagnosing kidney cancer
First, Dr. Kaplon will conduct a physical exam and discuss with you your medical history and current symptoms. If they think it warrants you getting an exam, they will most likely refer you to a radiologist to get a CT scan, PET scan, MRI or ultrasound. Other exams also include a biopsy, blood tests and a few others. Make sure you discuss your exam options with Dr. Kaplon.
CT and MRI exams are typically used to detect the staging of the cancer if it exists, where there are 4 staging groups of kidney cancer, with categories underneath.
Treatment for kidney cancer
Most likely, if you have kidney cancer, robotic surgery will be the procedure of choice. Specifically, the da Vinci Nephrectomy procedure. Each case differs, so you will need to consult with Dr. Kaplon about treatment options.
If you have more questions about kidney cancer or believe you may be at risk, consult with Dr. Daniel Kaplon by calling (941) 917-5400