Why Kidney Cancer Is a Growing Concern Among Young Indians

There is a growing incidence of kidney or renal cancer among younger people in India. Here’s all you need to know.

Updated
Cancer
4 min read
There is a growing incidence of kidney or renal cancer among younger people in India. Here’s all you need to know about this condition.
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The five widely ignored cancers among men are prostate, bladder, kidney, testicular and penis (penile) cancer. It is therefore important to be aware of the causes, symptoms and treatment for each of these for timely detection and treatment. While prostate cancer is the most commonly spoken about, the others are equally significant.

There is a growing incidence of kidney or renal cancer among younger people in India. Here’s all you need to know about this condition.

Why Kidney Cancer Is a Growing Concern Among Young Indians

  1. 1. What is Kidney or Renal Cancer?

    Kidney cancer is a condition in which the kidney cells become malignant and form tumours.
    Kidney cancer is a condition in which the kidney cells become malignant and form tumours.
    (Photo: iStockphoto)

    Kidney cancer is a condition in which the kidney cells become malignant and form tumours. It appears in the lining of tiny tubes which lie in the kidney.

    While this disease has primarily affected the elderly over decades, there is a growing incidence of this condition among younger people in India. Nearly one-third of kidney cancer patients are below 50 years of age and nearly 12 per cent of patients are less than 40 years.

    Research shows that increasing cancer incidence could be due to poor nutrition in Indians. Another factor is lack of awareness about this cancer which hinder them seeking medical opinion or to have a regular health check.

    Expand
  2. 2. What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Kidney Cancer?

    Smokers are at twice a risk compared to non-smokers.
    Smokers are at twice a risk compared to non-smokers.
    (Photo: iStockphoto)

    The common risk factors for renal cancer include smoking, hypertension, obesity, gender, genetic factors and diet. Smokers are at twice a risk compared to non-smokers.

    Men are about twice as likely as women to acquire renal cancer. A family history of the disease can increase risk especially among siblings. Affliction of advanced kidney disease or undergoing long-term dialysis treatment can also increase risk.

    Kidney cancer is governed by immunity, which plays a very important role in prevention of cancer. Nutritional status of younger population in developing country is poorer than western counterpart and analogous to the nutritional status of elderly people in a developed country.   
    Expand
  3. 3. Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

    Initial symptoms of kidney cancer include:

    • Blood in urine
    • Persistent nagging pain or heaviness on the side of the back
    • Unexplained fever
    • Loss of appetite
    • Anaemia
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Swelling in ankles or legs
    Expand
  4. 4. How Can You Protect Yourself?

    Eating a healthy diet will help keep the kidneys function normally.
    Eating a healthy diet will help keep the kidneys function normally.
    (Photo: iStockphoto)
    • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
    • Keep blood pressure levels in control
    • Exercise regularly
    • Quit smoking and consumption of alcohol
    • Avoid stress
    Expand
  5. 5. Diagnosis

    The initial screening is done through an ultrasonography of the abdomen. Post this a contrast enhanced CT scan can be performed. An MRI can be considered in case the function of the kidney is not normal. A CECT scan, chest X-Ray and chest CT scan can detect the stage of the disease.

    PET scan has limited role for diagnosis and staging but its significance in emerging in metastatic disease where we monitor the response to Target therapy and immunotherapy.

    Kidney cancer is invariable diagnosed on CT or MRI scan and biopsy before surgery is rarely needed. 
    Expand
  6. 6. Treatment & Role of Robot Assisted Surgery

    In case the tumour is small, then part of the kidney containing the tumour can be removed and the remaining part can be saved.
    In case the tumour is small, then part of the kidney containing the tumour can be removed and the remaining part can be saved.
    (Photo: iStockphoto)
    The ideal treatment option is the removal of the kidney containing the cancerous tumour. A single healthy kidney can suffice for normal lifespan.

    In case the tumour is small, then part of the kidney containing the tumour can be removed and the remaining part can be saved. This process is called partial nephrectomy, which can be done through robot assisted surgery, laparoscopy or even open surgery.

    The robot-assisted partial nephrectomy is the best treatment method as it is minimally invasive like laparoscopic surgery but gives better precision and helps in suturing. Unlike a common myth, it is the urologist who does the surgery taking help of robotic arms. In severe cases, the cancer can spread to the lymph nodes, lung, liver and bones. This is called metastatic kidney cancer.

    Since chemotherapy and radiation therapy do not work for this kind of cancer, it becomes imperative to remove the tumour surgically. Metastatic renal cancer can be treated with new techniques like target therapy and immunotherapy.

    (Dr Anil Mandhani, M.S. MCh, DNB (Urology), FACS, Chairman, Urology and Renal Transplant, Medanta The Medicity, Gurgaon)

    (Make sure you don't miss fresh news updates from us. Click here to stay updated)

    Expand

What is Kidney or Renal Cancer?

Kidney cancer is a condition in which the kidney cells become malignant and form tumours.
Kidney cancer is a condition in which the kidney cells become malignant and form tumours.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Kidney cancer is a condition in which the kidney cells become malignant and form tumours. It appears in the lining of tiny tubes which lie in the kidney.

While this disease has primarily affected the elderly over decades, there is a growing incidence of this condition among younger people in India. Nearly one-third of kidney cancer patients are below 50 years of age and nearly 12 per cent of patients are less than 40 years.

Research shows that increasing cancer incidence could be due to poor nutrition in Indians. Another factor is lack of awareness about this cancer which hinder them seeking medical opinion or to have a regular health check.

What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Kidney Cancer?

Smokers are at twice a risk compared to non-smokers.
Smokers are at twice a risk compared to non-smokers.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

The common risk factors for renal cancer include smoking, hypertension, obesity, gender, genetic factors and diet. Smokers are at twice a risk compared to non-smokers.

Men are about twice as likely as women to acquire renal cancer. A family history of the disease can increase risk especially among siblings. Affliction of advanced kidney disease or undergoing long-term dialysis treatment can also increase risk.

Kidney cancer is governed by immunity, which plays a very important role in prevention of cancer. Nutritional status of younger population in developing country is poorer than western counterpart and analogous to the nutritional status of elderly people in a developed country.   

Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

Initial symptoms of kidney cancer include:

  • Blood in urine
  • Persistent nagging pain or heaviness on the side of the back
  • Unexplained fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anaemia
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Swelling in ankles or legs

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Eating a healthy diet will help keep the kidneys function normally.
Eating a healthy diet will help keep the kidneys function normally.
(Photo: iStockphoto)
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Keep blood pressure levels in control
  • Exercise regularly
  • Quit smoking and consumption of alcohol
  • Avoid stress

Diagnosis

The initial screening is done through an ultrasonography of the abdomen. Post this a contrast enhanced CT scan can be performed. An MRI can be considered in case the function of the kidney is not normal. A CECT scan, chest X-Ray and chest CT scan can detect the stage of the disease.

PET scan has limited role for diagnosis and staging but its significance in emerging in metastatic disease where we monitor the response to Target therapy and immunotherapy.

Kidney cancer is invariable diagnosed on CT or MRI scan and biopsy before surgery is rarely needed. 

Treatment & Role of Robot Assisted Surgery

In case the tumour is small, then part of the kidney containing the tumour can be removed and the remaining part can be saved.
In case the tumour is small, then part of the kidney containing the tumour can be removed and the remaining part can be saved.
(Photo: iStockphoto)
The ideal treatment option is the removal of the kidney containing the cancerous tumour. A single healthy kidney can suffice for normal lifespan.

In case the tumour is small, then part of the kidney containing the tumour can be removed and the remaining part can be saved. This process is called partial nephrectomy, which can be done through robot assisted surgery, laparoscopy or even open surgery.

The robot-assisted partial nephrectomy is the best treatment method as it is minimally invasive like laparoscopic surgery but gives better precision and helps in suturing. Unlike a common myth, it is the urologist who does the surgery taking help of robotic arms. In severe cases, the cancer can spread to the lymph nodes, lung, liver and bones. This is called metastatic kidney cancer.

Since chemotherapy and radiation therapy do not work for this kind of cancer, it becomes imperative to remove the tumour surgically. Metastatic renal cancer can be treated with new techniques like target therapy and immunotherapy.

(Dr Anil Mandhani, M.S. MCh, DNB (Urology), FACS, Chairman, Urology and Renal Transplant, Medanta The Medicity, Gurgaon)

(Make sure you don't miss fresh news updates from us. Click here to stay updated)

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