Skip to content
Menu
express care logo
Riverwalk:
mins
Andover:
mins

Evaluating Treatment Options for Kidney Cancer

 

The most common type of kidney cancer is called renal cell carcinoma. Several treatment options are available, including surgery or medical treatment.

The choice of treatment depends upon the stage of the cancer. The “stage” describes the size and aggressiveness of the cancer, including whether it has spread to other parts of the body (such as the lungs, liver, or bones). Lower stage cancers are generally not as advanced and are less likely to come back after treatment.

Treatment Options for Localized Renal Cell Carcinoma

Localized kidney cancer includes stages I through III. It is called localized because the cancer has not yet spread beyond the kidney (except for nearby lymph nodes, which are part of the body’s immune system).

Kidney Surgery

Surgery to remove part or all of the affected kidney is the preferred treatment for most people with localized kidney cancer. How much tissue is removed depends upon:

  • size and location of the cancer in the kidney
  • number of tumors present
  • how well the kidneys work.

If the tumor is large or in the center of the kidney, your doctor may remove the entire kidney, as well as nearby areas that are affected (radical nephrectomy). This is more likely to be done if the other kidney works well. Fortunately, most people are able to live well with just one kidney.

If the other kidney is not functioning properly, the surgeon may remove only part of the kidney in order to allow the kidney to keep working, at least somewhat. This can be done either surgically, or by freezing or burning the kidney tumors.

Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma

Advanced (or metastatic) renal cell carcinoma consists of stage IV kidney cancer. This type of advanced cancer is difficult to cure.

Medical Treatments

Medicine (also known as medical treatment) is used instead of, or in addition to, kidney surgery.

Three of the main types of medical treatment are:

  • Interleukin-2 (IL-2). This therapy turns on the immune system so that it attacks the cancer cells. It is usually only used when you are healthy enough to withstand the severe side effects, such as fever, kidney failure, low blood pressure, and irregular heart beat.
  • Anti-angiogenic therapies. This medical treatment keeps new blood vessels from forming and supplying the tumor with the blood that it needs to grow and survive. This will not cure the kidney cancer, but can stop the tumor from growing for a long time. Side effects include tiredness, high blood pressure, and rashes.
  • Targeted therapies. These medicines slow the growth of the cancer by interfering with the cancer cells directly. This treatment also won’t cure the kidney cancer, but can help you live longer with fewer symptoms. Side effects include tiredness, high blood pressure, and rashes.

Surgery

Surgery for advanced renal cell carcinoma is sometimes used before medical treatment, although medical treatment may be done on its own.

Surgery can be done robotically where the surgeon uses a high tech machine, called the da Vinci robot. The arms of the robot are controlled by the physician and it mimics the doctor’s hand movements precisely. This allows the surgeon to reach areas within the body without having to make large incisions and without seriously damaging skin and tissue.

As with localized kidney cancer, all or part of the kidney is removed. Treatment for advanced kidney cancer, though, also involves removing areas outside of the kidney where the cancer has spread (metastases).

Surgery does not usually cure the cancer in cases of advanced renal cell carcinoma, but may reduce the symptoms and allow you to delay medical treatment.

Radiation or Chemotherapy

Radiation or chemotherapy may be used after surgery in both localized and advanced kidney cancer. These are used to kill left-over cancer cells, even if all of the visible cancer was removed. This lowers the risk that the kidney cancer will return.

With radiation therapy, X-rays or another type of radiation is used to kill the cancer cells. The radiation source is either outside the body (as with the X-rays) or placed inside the body (using a radioactive substance).

Chemotherapy drugs—taken by mouth or injected—kill the cancer cells or stop them from growing.

Follow-Up Tests

Regular check-ups after treatment are advised in order to make sure that the cancer does not return. This may include an exam, lab tests, and X-ray tests, and are done every 6 to 12 months for at least five years.

Cervical Health Awareness

cervical health awareness month

Here are just a few facts about cervical health that you might not be aware of:

  • Every year, more than 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States.
  • 91 percent of women who catch cervical cancer in its early stages survive.
  • Cervical cancer is most common in women 35-44 years of age.
  • Six out of ten women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer have never had a pap smear.

Can I Reduce my Risk of Cervical Cancer?

The answer is yes. There are many things women can do to reduce the risk of getting cervical cancer, including:

  • Get pap smears regularly – Pap smears detect cervical changes prior to cancer forming. Check with your physician about how often you should get a pap smear.
  • Follow up after having an abnormal pap smear – Follow up tests or colposcopies are necessary if you have an abnormal pap smear.
  • Practice safe sex – Women with fewer sexual partners and women who practice safe sex decrease their risk of developing HPV, which is one of the causes of cervical cancer.
  • Get vaccinated – The HPV vaccine prevents the formation of high-risk strains of HPV. The vaccine is most effect for young women who are not sexually active. If you are older than 27, you might not be eligible for the vaccine.

 

Contact a physician to get more information on cervical cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women.

In 2013, an estimated 232,340 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, while 64,640 will be diagnosed with non-invasive breast cancer. With early detection and treatment, women can fight back against breast cancer.

Diagnosed with Breast Cancer?

Here Are Your Treatment Options:

  • Breast-conserving surgery and radiation therapy. An operation to remove the breast cancer, but not the breast itself.
  • Total mastectomy. The entire breast is removed. Many celebrities, including Angelina Jolie, Christina Applegate, Kathy Bates and Sharon Osbourne, have spoken out about their choice to receive a double mastectomy.

You Are Not Alone in Your Fight Against Breast Cancer!

Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer can be overwhelming. Hearing the perspective of others who have survived cancer can give you a better perspective on treatment and survival.
Here are a few quotes from famous faces who won the battle against breast cancer:

  • “Having had cancer, one important thing to know is you’re still the same person at the end…most people come out the other end feeling more like themselves than ever before.” -Kylie Minogue
  • “I look at my cancer journey as a gift: It made me slow down and realize the important things in life and taught me to not sweat the small stuff.” – Olivia Newton-John
  • “Cancer gave me the gift of being fearless.”- Today show co-host Hoda Kotb
  • “I was diagnosed with breast cancer two months ago and am recovering from a double mastectomy. I don’t miss my breasts as much as I miss Harry’s Law.” – Kathy Bates

What Can I Do To Show My Support in the Fight Against Breast Cancer?

“With over 3 million women battling breast cancer today, everywhere you turn there is a mother, daughter, sister, or friend who has been affected by breast cancer.” -Betsey Johnson

Even if you don’t suffer from breast cancer, you most likely know someone who is. Show your support by:

  • Donating to charities
  • Participating in walks and races that give proceeds to breast cancer foundations. Some of the most popular races include the Race for the Cure, Three-Day Walk for Breast Cancer and “Tour De Pink.”

Do your part in the fight against breast cancer!

 

Prostate Cancer Facts

prostate cancer facts

Men, don’t ignore your health! It’s important to know about the main health issues impacting men, one of which is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in men, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death in men.

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer starts in the prostate gland, which is a small, walnut-sized structure that is part of the man’s reproductive system. Though there are some cases of prostate cancer that are more aggressive, prostate cancer usually grows slowly and remains confined to the prostate gland.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer in its early stages might not cause noticeable symptoms. As it becomes more advanced, it may cause symptoms including:

  • Discomfort in the pelvic area
  • Blood in both semen and urine
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Pain in lower back
  • Pain in hips or thighs
  • Light stream of urine

Treating Prostate Cancer

Treatment options for prostate cancer depend greatly on the stage the cancer is at. The stages of prostate cancer include:

  • Stage I – During this stage, the cancer isn’t considered aggressive. During this stage, your physician may decide that treatment isn’t necessary and may choose to simply monitor the cancer.
  • Stage II – Cancer at this stage may still be considered aggressive. It may be larger and may involve both sides of the prostate gland.
  • Stage III – The cancer has spread from the prostate gland to other nearby tissues.
  • Stage IV – During stage IV, the cancer has spread to nearby organs, such as the bladder or lymph nodes.

Depending on the stage of the prostate cancer, your physician may choose radiation therapy, hormone therapy, surgery to remove the prostate, chemotherapy or immunotherapy.