Metastatic renal cancer

When the first signs of cancer begin to show in the kidneys it is referred to as renal cell carcinoma or metastatic rental cancer. Metastatic is the term used to define cancer that spreads to other parts of the body. Many cancer patients are very fortune to find their cancer before it has the chance to spread and have a much higher rate of survival. In many cancers, early diagnosis is crucial for a favorable prognosis.

Metastatic renal cancer is most commonly detected in men who are 50 years of age or older. Studies have shown that the disease is much more commonly found in patients who are overweight, who smoke and who have high blood pressure. Those who have been exposed to specific chemicals frequently may also be at risk. Asbestos and cadmium are chemicals that can potentially lead to renal cancer. There are also many other illnesses that may predispose a patient to metastatic renal cancer such as papillary renal cell carcinoma which is hereditary as well as Von Hippel-Lindau disease. This disease may cause the growth of tumors in various other parts of the body as well.

Early cases of the disease may not show any symptoms. As the cancer becomes more developed, symptoms may begin to show. These typically include a bloody tinge to the urine as well as discoloration of the urine. Back pain, particularly in the lower back may also be present particularly on one side or the other. Dramatic and unplanned weight loss, extreme fatigue, constipation, fever and a pale look to the skin are also symptoms of the disease.

Tests are typically done for any and all of the above listed symptoms. Should you notice symptoms and report these to your physician, he or she will likely order various tests of the urine and blood as well as ultrasounds of the kidneys. If a diagnosis of metastatic renal cancer is found, your physician will need to determine is metastasis is evident. He or she may order a scan of your entire body and use other tests to determine if the cancer has spread to other areas of your body. These tests will also help your physician to determine the course of treatment that you will need for the disease.

If caught in the earlier stages of the disease, aggressive treatment may include removing the affected kidney as well as part of the bladder if needed. Patients are also typically given specific medications designed to block the cancer from growing or spreading further. Radiation therapy is not typically an option for metastatic renal cancer and only a very few patients are ordered chemotherapy for this type of cancer. Radiation and chemotherapy are not typically effective in treating this specific type of kidney cancer.

Immunotherapy has been proven to be effective in treating some cases of renal cell cancer. During immunotherapy or biological therapy treatments, patients are given a substance that is designed to boost the immune system. This will help the body to fight the cancer much like antibiotics help the body’s immune system to fight off infections. There are many serious side effects related to immunotherapy but many patients who have received this type of treatment have gone into remission for long periods of time.

When found early enough, metastatic renal cancer prognosis is very optimistic and patients undergoing treatment in the early stages show survival rates of more than 75 percent after five years. Unfortunately, if the cancer metastasizes, the survival rate at five years drops substantially. 85 to 95 percent of patients whose cancer metastasizes do not survive five years. This is why it is crucial to catch the disease in the earliest stages. Any symptoms of the cancer should be instantly reported to your physician in order to get tests started and find a diagnosis. More research is currently being conducted into new treatment methods that may have a more positive effect on the survival rate for patients who do have a more advanced or aggressive case of renal cancer.

Last updated on Oct 23rd, 2010 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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