kidney Tumor: Symptoms, Causes & Risk Factors

Dr. Virendra is a senior consultant urologist, andrologist, and transplant surgeon at Chandigarh healthcare, sector 16, Mohali and Apollo hospital sector 8C, Chandigarh.  In this video, he will talk about kidney tumorTwo kidneys in the human body are in the flanks. Filtering the urine, maintaining the blood pressure, maintaining the hemoglobin, and excretion of waste, are the essential functions of a kidney.

The kidneys have self-regulated growth. But when the growth becomes unregulated, and the cells start overgrowing, it forms a tumor. The tumors found in the kidneys are solid or mixed that can grow in any part of the kidney. The most common tumor is called carcinoma. However, there are other types of tumors as well. In addition, not all tumors in the kidney are necessarily cancer. They can be benign as well, such as oncocytoma

At what age do kidney tumors start growing? 

There is no specific age. These tumors grow from a child to old age. The tumor growth in the child is called neuromasts. The tumor growth in adults is called Renal cell carcinoma Angiomyolipoma, Oncocytoma

So kidney tumors can happen at any age. And men are more prone to it compared to women. The maximum number of incidents that we see of this is between the age of 50-60. It is hereditary. It runs in the family like tuberculosis or VHL Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome. These people have a genetic disorder that causes numerous tumors in or outside of the kidney. 

  • So kidney tumors can happen at any age. 
  • Male are at higher risk compared to women. 
  • It runs in the family. i.e., it’s hereditary.
  • And its risk factors are smoking, obesity. 

What are the risk factors of kidney tumor? 

The risk factors for kidney tumors are: 

  1. Age, happens mainly between the ages 50-60. 
  2. Gender, males are more prone to a kidney tumor. 
  3. Race, Africans, Americans are at higher risk. 
  4. Smoking, Obesity, Hereditary

No one can pinpoint the exact cause of kidney tumors. However, it can affect any part of the kidney, and the most common type is  Renal cell carcinoma. 

What are the symptoms of a kidney tumor? 

Usually, it is detected incidentally. For example, you get your ultrasound is done for your stomach or other reasons and detect a tumor in your kidneys. Then, 30 – 40% is detected incidentally. The early stages of the tumor do not have any symptoms. However, the symptoms start showing during the later stages. The symptoms are blood in urine, pain in the flanks, weight loss, weakness, anemia, if it spreads to the chest, pathless, etc. 

But the three significant symptoms that are to be noticed are pain, knots in the flang, and blood in the urine. So if any patient comes to us with these symptoms, we ask them to get an ultrasound. Whether the patient comes to us with an ultrasound or is asked to get one. An ultrasound detects the size, type, and location of the tumor. 

Further in the investigation, the patient is asked to get a CT scan of the chest. This helps us know whether the tumor is limited to the kidney or has spread to the other parts of the body. And then further treatment is done accordingly.  In the CT scan report, we see if the tumor is inside or outside the kidney if it is in the fat of the kidney if it has entered the blood vessels, etc. All this is that has to be investigated is determined by analyzing the CT scan reports. 

How is kidney tumor treated? 

The treatment depends on the severity of the tumor. If the tumor is local, it is near the kidney. Then it can be cured. But if it has become (metastasis), then it can only be controlled and not fixed. The prognosis depends on the stage of the tumor as well. For example, if the tumor is close to the kidney, it can Be cured entirely, and the prognosis is done nicely. But if the tumor has spread, the prognosis is disturbed, and the life span is only 3-4 years. Then, immunotherapy and target therapy have to be done. 

What are the treatment options? 

The treatment methods depend on the size, location, and complexity of the tumor. For example, if the tumor is in the core, or lower core, the tumor is more outside the kidney than inside, up till 4 cm,  then there is no need to remove the kidney; it can be saved. 

This Is safe for the kidney and the anthropological principle, i.e., the cancer is treated successfully. This is called nephrogenic surgery or partial nephrectomy. This surgery can be performed by hand, robot, laparoscopic depending upon the expertise of the surgeon. 

Preferably towards to avoid scarring less pain, one should go for laparoscopic or robotic. Even the results are better compared to other methods. When the tumor has spread around the kidney and cannot be removed, the doctors opt for a nephrectomy. In this, we have to remove the kidney from the body. This is called a radical nephrectomy. This can also be performed open or laparoscopic. But like before, laparoscopic surgery has more advantages over open surgery.  So the two primary surgeries performed to treat kidney tumors are partial nephrectomy and radical nephrectomy.  If the tumor is small, not complex, polar, it is a bilateral tumor, the patient has only one kidney, and that kidney has cancer, then we opt for partial nephrectomy. But if the patient is old, the tumor is big. Then we opt for radical nephrectomy. 

If the tumor is spread outside, then the patient is first given Targeted therapy to increase the life expectancy and improve the patient’s quality of life. 

Note

  • Blood in urine should never be ignored. 
  • If the tumor is detected in the ultrasound early, then the prognosis is better. 
  • And if it is detected before, it can be saved by partial nephrectomy. 

So please your kidney, consult your urologists and Don’t ignore the blood in your urine. 

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