Many of us are prone to shut our eyes to the obvious signs of health problems. Meanwhile, in connection with the spread of oncological diseases, it is important to pay attention to your well-being in a timely manner, and not to take matters to the extreme. This will help to gain time and begin to solve the problem as quickly as possible.
One of the insidious and common cancers is kidney cancer, the symptoms and signs of which we will look at in more detail. Like any malignant tumor, this disease is very serious, difficult to treat, especially in the latter stages.
Prevalence and prognosis
Kidney cancer, the symptoms and signs of which you need to know to those who are at risk, is diagnosed annually in more than 40 thousand people in the world. The mortality rate of patients with the last stage, unfortunately, is quite high - about 90%. The danger of this disease lies in its rapid progression and metastasis. Many patients turn too late when even the most modern methods of surgery do not provide a full guarantee of recovery.
Some statistics on survival (depending on the stage of kidney cancer):
- Stage 1 - about 80%;
- Stage 2 - 70-75%;
- Stage 3 - 50%;
- Stage 4 - 6-8%.
When using modern methods of treatment, the five-year survival rate is about 50% of patients, the ten-year one is 40%.
Older people (over 50 years old), most often men, are more susceptible to cancerous tumors in the kidneys. The risk group includes alcohol and tobacco abusers, those who are overweight, working in hazardous industries. It is better not to bring the disease to a severe stage, but to notice disturbing signs in time and give specialists the opportunity to classify them correctly.
More on cancer stages
As already noted, there are 4 main stages of a malignant tumor of the kidneys. From the point of view of physiology, they are characterized by the following manifestations:
Stage 1: size up to 70 mm, the absence of metastases, localization in the tissue of the organ.
Stage 2: the tumor has not gone beyond the limits of the kidney, but has reached a large size.
Stage 3: spread to the adrenal gland and renal vein.
Stage 4: germination through the renal capsule.
The first two stages are often asymptomatic.
All about the symptoms
Symptoms can vary greatly depending on the individual characteristics of the patient and the stage of the disease. The last two phases are characterized by the following symptoms of kidney cancer in women and men:
- impurities or blood clots in the urine. This is the most common indicator of a malignant tumor localized in the kidney, requiring immediate medical attention. Often hematuria is abundant in nature, it occurs suddenly (in 1.5-2 weeks after the formation of a tumor), after which this symptom may disappear for a while. Remember: even pale pink urine is a sign that you need to see a doctor;
- pains that are aching, not intense. Manifest depending on the location of the cancer (on the left or right side of the navel). Dull pains can spread to the entire abdomen, giving to its bottom or side. Acute pain occurs in the case of bleeding in the renal pelvis, as a result of which the outflow of urine is very difficult, causing sting;
- semicircular bulges in the lower back, which are visible or palpable by hand, may be a sign of stage 2-3 kidney cancer;
- high body temperature often accompanies the symptoms listed above;
- acute causeless hypertension. When the tumor squeezes the arteries of the ureter and other adjacent organs may increase blood pressure;
- swelling in the legs;
- varicocele - varicose veins of the ovary or spermatic cord (in men), which manifests itself in the form of pain in the testicles. This symptom develops as a result of squeezing of the vein by the tumor.
In women and men, the symptoms of kidney cancer are identical (with the exception of the latter, which is characteristic only for the stronger sex). The representatives of the weaker sex have no specific manifestations.
There are clinical manifestations of cancer that complement the above signs. These include:
- strong weight loss;
- dizziness, weakness, severe anemia (pallor);
- depression, drowsiness.
Symptoms may disappear periodically, but after a relapse or transition to the next stage, they reappear.
Diagnosis and treatment
If a kidney tumor is suspected, that is, when several specific symptoms appear at the same time, it is important to undergo diagnosis.
It begins with a biochemical blood test, during which renal failure is detected. After that, do an ultrasound. This is the safest and most accurate method of research, which helps to identify even the first stage of cancer. Those who are at risk, it is desirable to do an ultrasound every six months.
Also, the doctor may prescribe CT, which with even greater accuracy will determine the presence or absence of this disease. If instrumental diagnostic methods do not allow to distinguish a benign neoplasm from a malignant (this is extremely rare), then a biopsy is prescribed.
If the diagnosis is confirmed, serious treatment is prescribed. The specific direction is determined by the doctor depending on the stage of the disease, but most often surgical intervention is required. The operation is inevitable if there are metastases (or the risk of their occurrence) to nearby organs. A course of chemotherapy also allows you to slow down tumor growth and metastasis.
You should not panic when you find symptoms similar to those accompanying kidney cancer. In most cases, their partial manifestation is not an absolute indicator of a terrible disease. However, awareness of possible signs and timely diagnosis is the key to preserving health, and possibly life.