Kidney cancer is a disease which begins in the kidneys where healthy cells in one or both the kidneys grow and form a lump called a tumour. Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer that is discovered in adults. Renal cell carcinoma normally begins on the lining of tiny tubes in the kidney, called the renal tubes.
Renal cancer is normally situated in the kidney, but it may spread to other parts of the body such as the bones, lungs or the brain.
What symptoms can be expected with kidney cancer?
In the early stages of kidney cancer, there are rarely signs or symptoms, and there are no routine tests performed to screen for kidney cancer when there are no symptoms. When the cancer is in its later stages, kidney cancer signs and symptoms include blood in the urine whilst urinating, pain in your back or side that just doesn't go away, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, fatigue and fever which normally comes and goes.
How is kidney cancer treated?
When or after you have been diagnosed and the stage of the kidney cancer has been determined, Dr Mashava may be able to plan treatment.
The best treatment plan will depend on your general health, the kind of kidney cancer you are diagnosed with, whether cancer has spread and your preferences for treatment. Treatment may include the following surgeries:
- Radical nephrectomy is a surgery where the entire kidney is removed. When the entire kidney is being removed, it will be removed alongside borders healthy tissues and sometimes with nearby tissue such as the lymph nodes, adrenal gland or structures.
- Partial nephrectomy which is also called kidney-sparing or nephron-sparing surgery is a surgery where Dr Mashava will remove the tumour and a small portion of the healthy tissues that are surrounding the kidney, rather than removing the entire kidney.
Both surgeries can be done through open nephrectomy where Dr Mashava will make one big incision in the abdomen and done laparoscopically where small incisions are made in the abdomen.