The two most common forms of kidney tumor are so called adenocarcinomas (cancers) of the kidney (also known as Grawitz’s tumor), which occur in men in 80 percent of cases, and the Wilms’ tumor, which occurs almost exclusively in children under the age of six years. About 30 percent of children with Wilms’ tumor may be cured, provided they are young enough and surgery is performed before the cancer cells have spread to other tissues. Symptoms include painless bleeding, sometimes profuse, and this is often the first and only presenting symptom with renal cancers. Sometimes a mass in the abdomen that feels firm and may be nodular will cause the patient to first seek medical advice.
Kidney Tumor Symptoms
As with the symptoms of bladder cancer, immediate investigation by the urologist is mandatory, probably carried out in the urology unit of a large hospital where full facilities are available. A cystoscopy is the usual starting point. This will indicate if the bleeding is coming from a bladder tumor. Sometimes blood can be seen oozing from the left or right orifice where the ureter leads into the bladder, suggesting which kidney may be affected.
Kidney Tumor Treatment
X-ray, CT or ultrasound examinations may be carried out and show filling defects, which may assist the diagnosis. Treatment is surgical if metastases (spread to other areas) have not taken place. Nephrectomy, which means complete removal of the kidney, is carried out. “About 25 per cent of patients are alive five years after nephrectomy,” Smith says. However, it seems to depend on the nature of the cancer, for others do much better. “In a well-encapsulated tumor that has not metastasized, survival up to 10 years may occur,” Wilson states. Although the cancer is relatively resistant to radiation, this is often used, for it seems to help reduce local recurrences and cell nests that have formed in bones in other parts.
Tumors of the Renal Pelvis
About 10 per cent of renal cancers occur in the pelvis, the cavity of the kidney. Once again, hematuria is the cardinal symptom. They resemble cancers of the bladder. Treatment is similar to that for cancer of the kidney, with surgical removal of the organ. With well-encapsulated ones, the outlook is relatively good, but others grow alarmingly and spread early, and the outlook is grave. This will be known only at the time of surgery when a pathological examination will reveal the nature of the cancer.