Kidney Cancer Urologist - Dr. Angelo Gousse, MD
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs responsible for eliminating toxins and waste from the bloodstream. They are positioned above your abdominal muscles and below your rib cage. Your body depends on its kidneys to maintain healthy organs and cell stimulation.
If you were to develop problems with your kidneys, such as kidney cancer, you would quickly feel the symptoms. Some of the symptoms might include excessive tiredness, blood in the urine, dry skin, insomnia, or foamy urine. Talk to a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
Kidney cancer is usually synonymous with renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer that makes up roughly 85% of all kidney cancer cases. When you get renal cell carcinoma, it causes cancerous cells to form on the tubule lining of your kidneys. If they are not treated, the cancerous cells will continue to grow into a tumor. Then you’ll have real problems.
Kidney tumors won’t cause any severe symptoms at first. But if you experienced any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should undergo a physical examination from a licensed urologist. The urologist can verify whether the symptoms are due to kidney cancer or an unrelated health condition. Wouldn’t it be nice to rule out kidney cancer if you could?
Unfortunately, a kidney tumor grows quickly. It won’t take long before the tumor has spread to various organs of the body. Then you’ll experience pain, discomfort, and functionality problems with those organs as well. Common symptoms of a tumor spreading include blood in the urine and pain in the abdomen, side, or back.
Kidney tumors cannot be detected from a simple blood or urine test. However, if you genuinely think you might have a kidney tumor, your doctor could perform an MRI, ultrasound, or CT scan on your abdomen area to find out. These imaging tests are not only good at detecting cancer, but they can tell the doctor which stage of the cancer is present. After that, the doctor can come up with a suitable treatment plan.
Most treatments start with immunotherapy. First, the urologist will put you on medications that boost your immune system’s strength. The idea is that a stronger immune system can destroy the cancerous cells in your kidneys without any other treatment intervention. Either that or you could take targeted drugs orally to stop tumors from growing.
Surgical intervention may be necessary where kidney tumors are concerned. The urologist may take out your entire kidney if it is overgrown with cancerous cells. The same goes for your adrenal glands too. This procedure is called a radical nephrectomy. But if only parts of your kidney or adrenal gland need removal, the procedure is called a partial nephrectomy.
The urologist will do everything possible to preserve your kidney tissue and other organ tissues without removing them. Only the portions of the tissues with cancerous growth will get removed, as long as the cancer cells haven’t spread to the entire organ. Tumors under 4 cm should allow a portion of the kidney to be saved.
The latest surgical incision techniques for kidney tumor removal are robotic surgery and laparoscopic. These advanced surgical methods make it easier for the urologist to perform incisions on the tissues with precision and accuracy. It is rare for a urologist to do the whole procedure by hand unless necessary.
But if you don’t like the idea of getting surgery, you can take advantage of two alternative treatment options. These options are cryotherapy and radiofrequency ablation. Cryotherapy is basically a process where the doctor freezes the kidney tumor until the cancerous cells die. Radiofrequency ablation uses high-energy waves to accomplish the same thing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do both kidneys always develop cancer at the same time?
If you develop renal cell carcinoma, it will usually involve only one tumor growing in one kidney. On the other hand, it is still possible for tumors to develop in both kidneys simultaneously.
Can a kidney transplant eliminate kidney cancer?
No, a kidney transplant is not a viable treatment option for kidney cancer. As long as you still have a portion of one kidney, you could probably survive just fine.
Can chemotherapy be used to treat kidney cancer?
No, chemotherapy cannot treat kidney cancer. However, your urologist can administer medications and therapies to target the cancer and reduce the symptoms.
Do you suspect that you have symptoms related to kidney cancer? Call us at (954) 362-2720 to make an appointment for an examination. Dr. Angelo Gousse is a trained urologist who can answer all your questions and diagnose your current urologic condition, if any.