Do not ignore these Five Early Warning signs of Kidney Cancer – Stay Alert and Healthy

The incidence of kidney cancer is rising in India. As per statistics, 1 out of 450 men and 1 out of 600 women are at risk of kidney cancer. Also, men are likely to get it more than women. 

Dr Sandeep Nayak, a leading oncologist in India, states, ‘Early detection of cancer is important for better recovery. Most cases of kidney cancer come to light when the patient undergoes an imaging or diagnostic test like ultrasound scan for some other condition. However, people who smoke, are obese or benzene containing products like petrol or with a genetic history of cancer are at higher risk.

Kidney cancer patients in Stage 1 have nearly 90% survival chance of up to 5 years, while in stage 2 or stage 3 cancer patients are detected with relatively larger size of kidney tumors and hence their survival rate will be approx 70%. Lastly, if the patient has stage 4 kidney cancer indicates the spread of cancer to other parts of the body, the 5-year survival is reduced to nearly 20% or less. Also, with new and improved kidney cancer treatments, it is possible to control the disease and improve the patient’s condition even in stage 4. 

He advises people to stay alert regarding the body signals, which indicate the presence of diseases in the body. Some people may experience fatigue, abdominal pain, backache, and blood in the urine. Accompanying symptoms include chronic fever, unexplained weight loss, swollen feet or ankles, and anaemia.

If kidney cancer is detected early, it is easily treatable. The patient must undergo regular check-ups and recognize the symptoms that enable timely screening for identifying cancer before it spreads further. It is important to choose an expert and experienced cancer consultant to rule out the chances of misdiagnosis.

Preferred tests to confirm kidney cancer is contrast CT scan. Biopsy is not performed. Treatment is decided based on CT scan diagnosis alone. In the case of a positive cancer result, the size and location determine the course of treatment. If possible, oncologists recommend surgical excision of the tumor, which is done through laparoscopy and robotic surgery, removing the affected part of the kidney  and maintaining the kidney function. This is called partial nephrectomy. 

If the location or the size of the tumor does not allow partial nephrectomy, then entire kidney will have to be removed. These surgeries are known as radical nephrectomy ( removal of the entire kidney) and partial nephrectomy (removal of partial kidney in case of tumors up to 7 cm). 

Dr Sandeep Nayak is the Chief Surgical Oncologist at MACS Clinic, Jayanagar, Bangalore . He has pioneered in robotic and laparoscopic Surgery which has improved the outcomes of cancer treatment. He is focusing on improving the quality of life of his kidney cancer patients, as most patients can be cured. 

Similarly, he is active in creating public awareness about preventing cancer through adopting a healthy lifestyle, balanced diets, maintaining optimum body weight and regular exercise. In addition, he is the founder-trustee of Samrohana Cancer Foundation, an NGO dedicated to the welfare of cancer patients, caregiver and their family members.

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