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Health

Spotlighting a rare and often silent form of kidney cancer
Many patients with early stage renal cell carcinoma show no symptoms
 
Published Monday, August 4, 2014 11:00 am
by Brandpoint

What may seem like vague symptoms - side pain, fatigue, and fever - can turn into an alarming diagnosis for the estimated 65,000 people each year who learn they have kidney cancer.

Twice as common in men as it is in women, kidney cancer is often a silent threat because many people do not experience symptoms in the early stages of the disease. However, early detection can greatly increase a person's chance of survival, underscoring the need for further awareness and education.

While many people are familiar with various kidney diseases, awareness of renal cell carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer, is relatively low.

"Unfortunately, many people with renal cell carcinoma aren't diagnosed until after the cancer has already spread to other areas of the body, which has a great impact on the prognosis they receive," said William Bro, president and CEO of the Kidney Cancer Association. "Raising awareness of RCC and its symptoms can lead to improved screening as well as earlier diagnosis and treatment, giving people a better chance at living a normal life."

Several factors are thought to contribute to an increased risk of RCC, including smoking, obesity and high blood pressure. The average age range of diagnosis for this disease is 60 to 65.

Renal cell carcinoma can be easily misdiagnosed because the symptoms, which include blood in the urine, a lump in the abdomen or side, pain in the side that does not go away, anemia, weight loss for no known reason and fever, are often attributed to other conditions.

If RCC is diagnosed in the early stages before it has spread to other parts of the body, the tumor can often be removed through surgery. While there is no cure for advanced kidney cancer, several treatment options are available, including surgery, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy and chemotherapy.

Each person's treatment journey for RCC is unique, and often involves several steps and combinations of therapies as treatments may stop working or cause intolerable side effects. Understanding the options available and how each therapy works is important to identifying the correct treatment plan.

Throughout the past few decades, major advancements in research, resources and support have helped countless patients diagnosed with kidney cancer. To learn more about kidney cancer, talk to your healthcare professional and become better educated about the disease and potential treatment options.

Comments

I should have written in the second sentence: "Thank you for this article and for helping to alert perhaps others with this insidious disease." I apologize for any confusion.
Posted on August 5, 2014
 
I am in my 71st month of surviving State IV renal cell carcinoma and still counting. Thank you for this article and for perhaps others with this insidious disease. Indeed, it's true that "each persons treatment journey for RCC is unique" and "... it is important to [identify] the correct treatment plan." Consulting with an oncologist who specializes and has experience with renal cell carcinoma is essential. Please see Smartpatients.com for a wonderful support group of survivors and caregivers who are combining their knowledge and compassion in a world-wide effort to promote greater understanding of this disease.
Posted on August 5, 2014
 

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