Kidney Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment in Tucson, 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.
8 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 urologist 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
Diagnostic Testing for Kidney Cancer
First, Dr. Berry will conduct a physical exam and discuss the patient’s medical history and current symptoms with them directly. If Dr. Berry feels that further testing is warranted, they 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. Berry.
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 in Tucson, AZ
For a majority of patients who are diagnosed with kidney cancer, robotic surgery will be the procedure of choice. Specifically, the da Vinci Nephrectomy procedure is very effective in removing cancerous tissue while inflicting minimal side effects on the patient themselves. Each case is very unique, so patients will need to consult with Dr. Berry 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 Dr. Tristan Berry today by calling (520) 348-7900 to schedule an appointment.