Kidneys are at the forefront of our organs, whose existence we do not even realize while working. Cancer that develops in the kidneys, which has many tasks from ensuring the hormonal regulation of our body to removing toxins from it, initially progresses silently without any symptoms. Acıbadem International Hospital Urology Specialist Prof. Dr. Mustafa Sofikerim says, "Considering that the first stages of the disease are also silent, people over the age of 40 should not delay their health checks."
The kidneys, which have the task of clearing waste from the blood and creating urine, are located on both sides of the spine. Cancers that occur in these organs, which are fist-sized and bean-shaped, are seen at a rate that cannot be underestimated. Kidney cancer accounts for about 2.5 percent of all cancer types. Moreover, it is seen twice as often in men.
Pay attention to risk factors!
Although the exact causes of kidney cancer are not known, it is known that there are some risk factors. Urology Specialist Prof. Dr. Mustafa Sofikerim lists these factors as follows;
Advanced Age: Aging is an important risk factor on its own. Most kidney cancers occur in patients aged 50 years or older.
Cigarette: Studies show that smoking for 10 years increases the risk of kidney cancer by 6 percent, and if smoking extends to 10-20 years, the risk increases to 45 percent.
Obesity: Excess weight or obesity can cause an increase in hormones such as insulin and estrogen. Since this increase causes some changes in cholesterol metabolism and immune system, it may also play a role in the formation of kidney cancer.
Hypertension: In some medical studies, it is seen that kidney cancer develops 2-3 times more in high blood pressure patients. It has been reported that cellular hypoxia and chronic inflammation due to high blood pressure trigger the development of cancer.
Kidney failure: Decreased kidney function is an important risk factor.
Inherited traits: Near the 1st degree; Having a parent, sister or brother of kidney cancer increases the risk.
Radiation exposure: If radiation therapy is used for treatment or frequent radiation exposure for other reasons, the risk of kidney cancer increases.
Toxic substance: The incidence of kidney cancer increases when exposed to substances such as paint, battery and brake lining wastes for occupational reasons.
It does not give any symptoms in the first stages!
Kidney cancer usually does not show any symptoms in the early stages. However, symptoms such as dark red or brownish blood in the urine, fatigue, weakness, sudden onset and persistent low back pain, persistent pain in the back, weight loss of unknown origin, loss of appetite and high fever are among the complaints that bring to mind kidney cancer. Stating that blood and urine tests can be a guide in the diagnosis of the disease, Prof. Dr. Mustafa Sofikerim said, “Tumours or abnormal tissues in the kidney can be investigated with imaging techniques such as ultrasound, CT or MR. The biopsy procedure is another method used in diagnosis.
Treatment differs according to the stage
Expressing that kidney cancer surgery was decided according to the stage of the cancer and the general condition of the patient, Prof. Dr. Mustafa Sofikerim talks about treatment methods as follows:
“If the cancer has not spread to other organs, surgical methods are usually the first treatment that comes to mind. In some patients who are not suitable for surgery, it may be possible to destroy the tumor with methods such as radiofrequency, ablation, and cryotherapy. Some drugs and chemotherapy that target cancerous tissues can be used in patients with metastases. In more advanced diseases, radiotherapy and renal artery therapy in order to increase the patient's quality of life and regress the symptoms.
“Kidney-sparing surgeries are performed”
Noting that the surgical methods applied in the surgical treatment of kidney cancer are "radical nephrectomy and partial nephrectomy", Prof. Dr. Mustafa Sofikerim, “The operation in which the kidney and surrounding cancerous tissues are removed is called radical nephrectomy. In this surgery, the tumor kidney, lymph nodes and adrenal glands are removed from the body. Partial nephrectomy, which is another surgical method, is also called kidney-sparing or nephron-sparing surgery. This procedure can be done laparoscopically or robotically. In the surgery, the tumorous area of the kidney is removed and this organ is allowed to continue its function. Partial nephrectomy may be possible in small tumors.”
Noting that partial nephrectomy can be life-saving, especially in cases where the patient has lost a kidney before, Prof. Dr. Mustafa Sofikerim states that partial nephrectomy is higher than radical nephrectomy in terms of the opportunities it provides to the patient, when complications such as postoperative quality of life and the need for dialysis are taken into account.