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Kidney Cancer

About the Department

A condition where the cells in the kidney turn malignant and start growing abnormally may end up forming a tumor. This may lead to kidney or renal cancer. In the majority of cases, kidney cancer cells seem to predominantly appear in the lining of the kidney tubules. However, kidney cancers can be detected before they metastasize and penetrate to the nearby body organs. The tumour itself can grow quite large before detection happens. 

Made up of two bean shaped organs that are about the size of a fist, the kidney is located near your lower end of the abdomen on either side of the spine. The primary function of the kidneys is to clean the blood through removal of waste products that are passed out with the urine.

Researchers are yet to come up with credible evidence that directly points to why kidney cancers develop at all. However, it has been seen that kidney cancers tend to affect people who are over the age of 40. The average age is actually around 65. But it is not unheard of in people below 45 to have developed kidney cancer as well.

Kidney cancer can occur in both men and women and falls into the 10 most common cancers that affect them. Men are at an increased risk of developing the disease with the odds at 1 in 48. 1 in 83 women are at lifetime risk of being affected by kidney cancer. 

Since the 1990’s, for reasons unknown, there has been a sharp increase in newer categories of kidney cancers. With modern imaging solutions in medicine that is being used worldwide, it is helping to pick up cancers which were difficult to detect previously. 

At Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Toad, the Department of Uro-oncology, believes in caring for our kidney cancer patients with a multidisciplinary and co-operative approach. The department post diagnosis of kidney cancer, systematically arranges its services surrounding the individual patient, putting together a team of diverse experts in the field of oncology who will monitor and manage the patient’s care and treatment starting from the first consultation, through the treatment phase and continue it even for the follow-up visits. 

Our kidney cancer patients will work on their treatment with a variety of specialists including a urologist who will lead the diagnosis, monitoring and also planning the treatment. At Fortis, we are committed towards providing dedicated treatment that is effective in cancer management and applying innovative techniques to cure and control the disease but limiting its impact on the patient’s quality of life. 

Areas of Care

The Department of Uro-oncology at Fortis treats various types of kidney cancers including:

- Renal cell carcinoma

- Clear cell renal cell carcinoma
- Papillary renal cell carcinoma
- Chromophobe renal cell carcinoma
- Rare types of renal cell carcinoma

  • Collecting duct RCC
  • Multilocular cystic RCC
  • Medullary carcinoma
  • Mucinous tubular and spindle cell carcinoma
  • Neuroblastoma-associated RCC

- Unclassified renal cell carcinoma

There are other variants of kidney cancers including: 

- Transitional cell carcinoma
- Wilms tumor (nephroblastoma)
- Renal sarcoma

There are types of kidney tumours that are non-cancerous including:

- Renal adenoma 
- Oncocytoma
- Angiomyolipoma

The Department of Uro-onclogy at Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, unifies a team of kidney cancer specialists who will provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment through comprehensive surgical and medical therapies.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Cancers

With kidney cancer, early symptoms are rare. Once the tumour starts growing, the symptoms begin appearing. The common symptoms of kidney cancer are:

- If you notice stains of blood in your urine
- If you feel the presence of a lump in the side of your stomach
- If you experience a sudden loss in appetite
- If you experience constant pain in your side
- If you observe that you are losing weight without any apparent reason
- If you have fever for over 4 weeks without being affected by any particular infection or a cold
- If you experience tiredness
- If you feel anaemic
- If you observe swelling in your legs or ankles

If the kidney cancer has penetrated into other organs in the body, it may cause further symptoms including:

- If you experience a shortness in breath
- If you notice blood with your cough
- If you feel severe pain in your bones

If you have been experiencing one or more symptoms of kidney cancer, for a significant period of time, the first thing you should do is to consult your general physician who can conduct some preliminary checks. In order to confirm a diagnosis of kidney cancer, he may refer you to a specialist. 

Our Diagnostic Services

During your first consultation with your specialist at Fortis, he will go through your symptoms, medical history and do a physical examination checking the abdomen and the side for lumps. He will also check your temperature for fever and high blood pressure too. In order to arrive at a diagnosis, your specialist may recommend the following diagnostic tests:

- Urinalysis:

If there are stains of blood in the urine, this test will be able to detect it. The sample will also be tested for colour and contents, unusual levels of sugar, protein, red blood cells, and white blood cells.

- Blood Chemistry Studies:

Your blood sample will be collected and checked for specific substances that have been released in your bloodstream by your organs. If the results are significantly higher or lower than expected, it could point to a presence of a disease in the body.

- Intravenous pyelogram (IVP):

This diagnostic test uses x-rays to view the kidney post a dye has been injected in the urinary tract. If there is a tumour present, it will get highlighted in the image through the dye. 

- Liver Function Test:

Through this screening, a sample of your blood is taken to measure the enzymes that is released by your liver. If the levels are unusual, it may indicate that the cancer has penetrated to the liver region. 

- Imagine Tests:

A number of imaging tests are used to detect the presence of a tumour in the kidney. These include:

  • Ultrasound
  • CT Scan
  • MRI Scan

- Renal Arteriogram:

This screening is recommended in order to analyse the blood supply to the tumour, especially small tumours. 

- Biopsy:

A sample of cells or tissue is extracted from the affected area and analysed under a microscope by a pathologist who will look for the presence of any cancerous cells. 

Once the specialist has the outcomes of these diagnostics tests, he will be able to make a diagnosis of kidney cancer. In case there’s any uncertainly or he wants to investigate the case further, he may prescribe more tests in order to determine if the cancer has spread to other organs in the body and what stage and grade is the cancer in, at that moment. 

Treatment Options

At Fortis, we offer our cancer patients the most modern treatment options for all stages and grades of kidney cancer. Your specialist oncologist along with a urologist will consult and collaborate the best treatment possibilities available that will suit your current health condition. Your personal preferences in terms of treatment will also be taken into consideration. 

Most conventional treatments for kidney cancer will include one or more of the following therapies:

- Surgical Therapy can be used in multiple ways in treating kidney cancer. It may include:

- Laparoscopic or Robotic nephrectomy that uses telescopic tools that are inserted into the stomach through tiny incisions. With a partial nephrectomy, it can partially remove the kidney with the tumour. When a radical nephrectomy is performed, the operation removes the entire kidney, and in some cases the adrenal gland, tissue around the kidney, and surrounding lymph nodes.

- Robot-assisted laparoscopic nephroureterectomy when performed is able to remove the whole kidney along with ureter and the bladder using telescopic tools. 

- Tumour Ablation is another method by which the tumour can be destroyed without surgical intervention. It can be done by two mechanisms:

  • Cryotherapy
  • Radiofrequency Ablation

- Radiation Therapy can help to ease the symptoms such as bone pain and can be used in combination with other cancer therapies. Singularly, it cannot cure kidney cancer. 

- Targeted Therapy can be used to treat kidney cancer by destroying or killing the cancerous cells or slowing the tumour growth through drugs. Targeted therapy can also be applied to treat kidney cancer that has progressed to an advanced stage. 

- Immunotherapy or otherwise known as biological therapy boosts the patient’s immune system to fight against cancer. 

Post receiving a complete diagnostic evaluation your treatment will be planned with the assistance of an expert urologist at Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road. The route of your treatment will depend a lot on the stage and grade of your kidney cancer. With an early diagnosis along with the expertise of a skilled and experienced urologist, Fortis aims to focus on a successful outcome of your kidney cancer treatment. 

Our Team That Cares

The Department of Uro-oncology at Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road has adopted an approach to patient care that is multidisciplinary. By constantly collaborating with specialists from allied medical disciplines, Fortis Hospitals will give you access to some of the leading cancer experts in Bangalore. Working hand-in-hand with medical oncologists and radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, nurse specialists your urologist will prepare a personalised care plan. 

At Fortis, the Department of Uro-oncology has some of most sophisticated instruments and techniques in diagnostic screenings, modern and innovative methods of treatment using minimally invasive surgeries that in turn is supported by targeted therapies and compassionate, individualised patient care.