The kidneys are paired, bean-shaped, blood filtering organs, which sits on either side of the backbone and are attached to the upper back wall of the abdomen. A kidney in healthy adult measures 10 to 12 cm in length, 5 to 7 cm in width, and 3 cm in thickness and has a mass of approximately 135 to 150 grams.
The kidney is made up of small functional units known as nephrons, which constitute the medulla and cortex of the kidney.
Three layers surround the kidney: an innermost renal capsule made up of dense irregular connective tissue, a middle adipose layer made up of fatty tissue, and an outermost renal fascia (also known as Gerota’s fascia) made up of dense irregular connective tissue.
Adrenal glands are two small glands which are present on top of each kidney. The main functions of the kidneys include excretion of waste material by filtration of blood, maintenance of blood pressure, and production of hormones – renin (that helps in maintaining blood pressure), calcitriol (that helps in maintaining bone density) and erythropoietin (that stimulate the production of red blood cells in bone marrow).
Types of Renal Cell Carcinoma
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most commonly encountered (90% of the cases) kidney cancer. RCCs are further divided into following subtypes based on their histology (appearance under a microscope):
- clear cell RCC,
- papillary RCC,
- chromophobe RCC,
- multilocular cystic RCC,
- collecting duct RCC,
- medullary carcinoma,
- mucinous tubular,
- spindle cell carcinoma,
- neuroblastoma-associated RCC, and
- unclassified lesions.
Tobacco increases the risk of kidney cancer by about 38%. This has been identified as one of the major risk factors for kidney cancer and cessation of smoking may prevent kidney cancer.
Obesity increases the risk of kidney cancer, which has been postulated due to dysregulation of sex hormones, insulin metabolism, or the immune system in obese individuals.
Overuse of pain-killers
Excessive use of analgesics like phenacetin, and certain diuretics increases the risk of developing kidney cancer.
Heavy metals like cadmium and chemicals like benzidine, pesticides, herbicides, asbestos, and trichloroethylene used in dry cleaning and metal industry, have been found to increase the risk of kidney cancer.
Individuals with a history of end-stage kidney disease, especially those who require repeated dialysis, are at a higher risk of developing kidney cancer.
Family history of kidney cancer in close relatives, especially the first degree relatives increases the risk, that increases with the number of family members affected.
Genetic Cancer Predisposition Syndromes
Following are some examples:
- von Hippel-Lindau syndrome (caused by mutations in the VHL gene);
- hereditary papillary RCC (caused by mutation in the METgene);
- hereditary leiomyoma RCC (caused by mutation in the FH gene);
- Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHD, caused by mutation in FLCN gene),
- tuberous sclerosis (caused by mutation in the TSC1 and TSC2 genes); and
- Cowden syndrome (caused by mutation in the PTEN gene).
Older age individuals, males, and African Americans or Alaska Natives are more likely to have kidney cancer.
Symptoms and Signs
Local spread may cause:
- Blood in the urine
- Lump in abdomen
- Abdominal discomfort or pain
Distant spread may cause:
- Bone pain
- Headache, vomiting, seizures
Most common sites of spread of kidney cancer are adrenal gland, bone, brain, liver and lung.
Best Kidney Cancer Specialist in Delhi
Dr Sunny Garg is a renowned Medical Oncologist in New Delhi with an experience of around 10 years of treating kidney cancer patients. He has treated kidney cancer patients with Chemotherapy, Targeted Therapy, Immunotherapy and Personalized Cancer Treatment. He is currently practicing at Manipal Hospital, Dwarka.
Diagnostic modalities available at our hospital include Urinalysis, CT guided Biopsy, Intravenous Pyelogram, Whole Body PET CT, etc. Other treatment facilities for Kidney Cancer available are Partial Nephrectomy, Radical Nephrectomy, Cytoreductive Surgery for Metastatic Disease, Radiation Therapy, etc.
Call +91 9686813020 for appointment.