A physical exam, ultrasound, study of blood chemistry, urine analysis, liver function test, a series of x-rays of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder, CAT scan, NMRI, and biopsy are the procedures adopted to diagnose renal cell cancer. All these probes the abdomen and kidneys where renal cell cancer is diagnosed.
While risk factors like being obese, having high blood pressure, being a smoker, having a history of prolonged abuse of pain medication and being genetically inclined to fall victim to renal cancer, only exhibit the high probability of someone being affected by renal cell carcinoma. Only clear signs of renal cell carcinoma that appear in the later stages of the disease, like the presence of a lump in the abdomen or blood in the urine, loss of appetite, weight loss and anemia. These justify the need to visit a doctor for further tests and analysis, to confirm the presence of renal cell cancer in the body.
The stage of renal cancer, the patient’s age, and health condition determine the treatment options available and also the chances of recovery from this disease. Advanced renal cell carcinoma is where cancer has spread to other parts of the body like the adrenal glands, lymph nodes, the lungs, liver, bones, or brain, through either the tissues, the lymph system, or the blood.
The standard treatment options for advanced renal cell carcinoma are:
- Radical nephrectomy, a surgery that removes the kidney, the adrenal gland, the tissues surrounding it, and the lymph nodes near those.
- Arterial embolization is used to shrink the tumor if it is not possible to perform the surgery.
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy is done after surgery to kill remaining cancer cells to lower the risk of cancer re-occurring.
- External and internal radiation therapy uses high energy X-rays or radioactive substances sealed in needles, wires, or catheters, respectively to kill cancer cells.
- Biologic therapy or immunotherapy restores the body’s natural defenses against cancer.
- Targeted therapy with monoclonal antibodies and kinase inhibitors prevent blood vessels from forming a tumor. Thus it causes it to starve and stop growing or to shrink.