symptoms, treatments and prevention. What you need to know – WWN

symptoms, treatments and prevention.  What you need to know – WWN


Of Vera Martinella

Paola Perego said she underwent a partial nephrectomy for a kidney tumor: it is a subtle and insidious neoplasm because it often remains clinically silent for a long time, but blood in the urine should never be overlooked

Of kidney cancer, for which the presenter Paola Perego was operated, approximately 13,500 people in our country get sick every year. He comes often discovered by chance, during tests done for other reasons, and if the diagnosis is made early, i.e. the carcinoma is small and confined to the kidney, surgery alone may be enough to cure it definitively. When the tumor mass is small, with a diameter of a few centimeters, the chances of complete recovery are high and the surgical intervention tends to spare the functionality of the kidneys – explains Giario Conti, national secretary of the Italian Society of Oncological Urology (SIUrO) -. You can therefore opt for one partial nephrectomy, that is, removing only part of the kidney, the one affected by the cancer, and “saving” the healthy part, which thus continues to carry out its natural tasks. Thanks to new technologies and robotics we are able to intervene with increasingly limited resections and laparoscopy, also shortening hospital stays.

Treatment

Around 70% of patients live 5 years after diagnosis, but even today around a third of cases (30%) are discovered late, in an advanced stage. Renal cancer is a subtle and insidious neoplasm because it often remains clinically silent for a long time, without giving obvious symptoms – says Giuseppe Procopio, head of genitourinary medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute of Milan -. On average six out of ten people notice the disease during tests done for other health problems and only 55% of carcinomas are detected when they are confined only to the kidney and therefore easier to treat. The first choice treatment for localized and locally advanced disease is surgery, conservative when possible (i.e. which only removes the tumor and spares the healthy organ). In case of relapses, to prevent relapses or for patients with metastases we also have several effective drugsboth molecularly targeted and immunotherapeutic, while chemo and radiotherapy against this neoplasm have proven to be of little use.

Symptoms

There are essentially three symptoms that should not be overlooked: hematuria, or the presence of blood in the urine, which is often the first sign of illness and can appear suddenly, disappear spontaneously and then recur again; dull pain in the side or colic-like spasms, caused by the presence of blood clots along the urinary tract (renal pelvis and ureter); presence of a palpable mass in the abdominal cavity at the flank level. Colic, like hematuria, are also common symptoms of kidney stones: without being too alarmed, it is important to talk to a doctor, who will prescribe any necessary further investigations, remember Conte. In Italy and in many Western countries, cases of kidney cancer (the same one diagnosed to the writer Michela Murgia), which is statistically more frequent in males, are on the increase. Why? The reason, according to experts, is to be found in the increasingly widespread incorrect lifestyles that favor the onset of this and other types of cancer: overweight, obesity, hypertension, incorrect diet, sedentary lifestyle. And, above all, I smoke.

Who risks more

Overweight is believed to be the cause of approximately 25% of newly diagnosed cases in Europe, with particular reference to women. Tobacco, on the other hand, would be responsible for around 40% of cases, especially in men: the number of cigarettes smoked every day and the number of years of exposure are directly proportional to the increased risk of this disease. Then there are people who must be considered special surveillance: First-degree relatives of patients with renal cell carcinoma may have a four times greater chance of being affected by the same tumor compared to the general population – concludes Sergio Bracarda, president of the Italian Society of urology oncology (SIUrO) —. Workers forced to prolonged exposure to petroleum derivatives, torotrast or zinc are also particularly exposed to risk. Finally, arterial hypertension should not be underestimated, one of the most widespread chronic pathologies which affects over 15 million Italians: it increases the probability of developing kidney cancer by 60%. About 4% of cases may have a hereditary basis due to von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, transmitted by the VHL gene. Even those suffering from polycystic kidney disease who undergo dialysis for a long time have a greater risk of developing the neoplasm.

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January 23, 2024 (modified January 23, 2024 | 10:37)



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