Kidney Cancer Treatment near Mesa, AZ
Kidney cancer is also known as renal cancer. The cancerous cells tend to begin in the tiny tubes of the kidney, which is diagnosed as renal cell carcinoma, hence the name “renal cancer”. Luckily, in most cases, kidney cancer is found before it is able to spread.
Kidney cancer is actually the 6th most common cancer in men, though women are of course also susceptible to this condition. It is estimated that only 4% of all cancer cases are diagnosed to be kidney cancer, however, this particular type of cancer tends to affect a specific demographic, so understanding the risk factors and how they apply to you is very important.
Risk Factors of Kidney Cancer
The following characteristics are especially common among patients diagnosed with kidney cancer:
- Over the age of 50
- Having advanced kidney disease
- A family history of kidney cancer
- High blood pressure
- African American
Keep in mind that having these risk factors does not mean that any of them will certainly cause kidney cancer on their own, they just increase the person’s chances of developing problems in the kidneys. However, if you can mitigate some of these risk factors, you can greatly reduce your chances of getting kidney cancer. These proactive prevention strategies can include losing weight, quitting smoking, and reducing your blood pressure. Making these alterations to your lifestyle can also reduce your risk for a number of other health concerns, including other cancers.
Symptoms of Renal Cell Carcinoma
It is important to note that these symptoms do not necessarily mean a person does in fact have kidney cancer, but if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and also fit into a few of the risk factors discussed above, consult with a specialist right away about scheduling a screening.
These symptoms are in order of how common they are, with the most common at the top:
- Blood in the urine
- Abdominal mass
- Back or flank pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Low blood cell counts (anemia)
- Symptoms of metastases (secondary malignant growths that begin to grow away from the primary site of cancer)
- High calcium levels in the blood
- High blood cell counts
Diagnosing Kidney Cancer
First, Dr. Simoncini will conduct a physical exam and discuss with the patient’s medical history and current symptoms with them directly. If Dr. Simoncini feels that further testing is warranted, he will most likely refer the patient to a radiologist to complete a CT scan, PET scan, MRI, or ultrasound. Other exams can also include a biopsy and blood test among a few others. Make sure you discuss your diagnostic options and preferences with Dr. Simoncini.
CT and MRI exams are typically used to detect the staging of the cancer if it exists. There are 4 primary staging groups of kidney cancer in addition to more specific subcategories that detail how the cancer developed and possibly spread to other areas of the body.
Treatment for Kidney Cancer near Mesa, AZ
Surgery is the first line of treatment for kidney cancer. The entire diseased organ may be removed with a margin of tissue, some lymph nodes, and possibly the adrenal gland (radical nephrectomy). For a majority of patients who are diagnosed with kidney cancer, robotic surgery will be the procedure of choice.
da Vinci Robotic Surgery for Kidney Cancer
Specifically, the da Vinci Nephrectomy procedure is very effective in removing cancerous tissue while inflicting minimal side effects on the patient themselves. Dr. Simoncini may also suggest that the patient undergo a partial nephrectomy or nephron- or kidney-sparing surgery. During this procedure, only the tumor and a margin of tissue are removed, and the kidney is reconstructed to preserve its function. This surgery, especially when performed with the da Vinci Robotic System, is becoming more and more the mainstay of this type of treatment. The da Vinci robotic surgical platform includes cutting-edge technology that allows the surgeon to control miniature robotic instruments using a 3D, high-definition visualization console. Because the instruments can exactly mimic the surgeon’s hand motions in miniature, the robot hands never tremor, and the 3D magnified view is superior to that of the naked eye, da Vinci robotic surgery offers more precision and control than open partial nephrectomy or traditional laparoscopic nephrectomy.
Other Treatment Methods
If surgery is not an option, the patient’s cancer cells can be destroyed by freezing (cryoablation) or heat (radiofrequency ablation). Recurrent kidney cancer or kidney cancer that has spread may be treated with radiation and/or immunotherapy or drugs (targeted therapies).
It is important to preserve the function of the kidney whenever possible since patients with two working kidneys are at much less risk of developing chronic kidney disease or needing dialysis later in life. Each case is very unique, so patients will need to consult with their specialist about all available treatment options and which method will be best for them specifically.
If you have more questions about kidney cancer, or believe that you may be at risk, consult with a specialist at Southeast Valley Urology today by calling (480) 924-7333 to schedule an appointment.