Below Deck: Captain Sandy discusses kidney cancer diagnosis
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Kidneys are vital organs responsible for filtering blood and producing urine to rid the body of waste. They also play a major role in helping the body maintain several critical functions such as blood pressure and regulate hormones and protein important for the body. Therefore, any problems with your kidneys can create a whole host of concerning symptoms.
Also known as renal cancer, kidney cancer is the seventh most common form of cancer in the UK, accounting for four percent of new cases.
It is more common among adults in their 60s or 70s and less so in people under the age of 50.
Urologist, Prasad Patki from The Princess Grace Hospital in London, spoke with Express.co.uk to explain how to spot some of the signs of the disease.
He said: “In its early stages, kidney cancer may not cause any noticeable symptoms.
“As it progresses, however, kidney cancer may cause blood in the urine, a palpable lump and back pain on one side of the body.”
One common sign among men is swelling of the veins in the testicles – known as varicocele.
If you notice this you should seek medical attention.
- Other common warning signs of kidney cancer include:
- Generalised fatigue
- A loss of appetite and weight
- Low levels of red blood cells (anaemia)
- High blood pressure.
“If left untreated, kidney cancer can progress and spread to other areas of the body, such as the bones, lungs or brain,” Mr Patki warned.
“Therefore, as with other types of cancer, it is important to seek medical advice as early as possible in order to improve the likelihood of successful treatment.
“Many of these symptoms can be similar to those of less serious conditions, such as urinary tract infections or kidney stones.
“Some of these symptoms only happen when the cancer is advanced and has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones or lungs.”
The treatment for kidney cancer depends on the size of the cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
Treatments for kidney cancer
Surgery to remove part or all of the affected kidney – This is the main treatment for most people.
Commonly minimally invasive (robotic or laparoscopic) and traditional open surgery.
Ablation therapies – Where the cancer cells are destroyed by freezing or heating them.
Targeted therapies (also called biological therapies) – Medicines that help stop the cancer growing or spreading.
Radiotherapy – Where high-energy radiation is used to target cancer cells and relieve symptoms.
Embolisation – A procedure to cut off the blood supply to the cancer.
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