In the genitourinary sphere, malignant renal pathologies are in third place after cancers of the prostate gland and bladder, and occupy a leading position in mortality. Renal cell carcinoma accounts for 97% of all oncogenic formations in the kidneys.
The severity and high mortality rate is explained by the difficulties with early diagnosis, therefore, only 25% of the detected cases fall on the inception of a dangerous process.
The male population living in cities is most susceptible to this type of oncopathology. In recent years, the number of patients with renal cell oncology has decreased slightly.
However, it is premature to consider this fact a reason for joy. To know the “enemy in the face” and to protect your health, you should study the disease in more detail.
What is renal cell carcinoma?
The kidneys are one of the components of the urinary system of the human body. Like other organs, they have a cellular structure. Maintaining physical well-being in the human body begins with properly functioning healthy cells.
The root cause of the disease, namely, oncology, is considered to be an imbalance in the cellular mechanism, which provokes the subsequent uncontrolled and aggressive cell division. Renal cell carcinoma is a malignant degeneration of the cell epithelium that covers the renal ducts.
Causes leading to pathology
Scientists cannot yet explain the origin of renal oncopathology. At the same time, there are known risk factors that can start the process:
- Labor activity involving contact with toxic and poisonous substances, as well as radioactive agents.
- Constant use of analgesics, which include phenacetin.
- Overweight and hypertension.
- Excessive consumption of protein foods after heat treatment containing carcinogens.
- Complication of general diseases of the kidneys and adrenal glands (diabetes mellitus, tuberculosis, chronic renal failure)
- Pre-existing benign formations and congenital anatomical abnormalities.
- Nicotine addiction (doubles the predisposition).
Pathogenesis and symptoms of the disease
The types of renal cell carcinoma are determined by the features of the morphological structure:
- The clear cell type got its name from the image under the microscope, which is cells with light cytoplasm (up to 80% of all cases)
- Papillary type 2 types: chromophilic 1 or 2 variants (the latter is recognized as one of the fastest growing forms), which has a hereditary predisposition and accounts for up to 15% of all renal oncological diseases and chromophobic type, characterized by metastasis only in late stages and slow development (detected in 5%)
- Varieties that do not belong to any of the above account for up to 5% of the total,
- Collecting duct cancer is typical for young people, is dangerous with rapid progression, is difficult for early detection, and up to 1% of all patients suffer from it,
- Medullary type, considered one of the rarest, most often affects African Americans, is characterized by rapid growth and is diagnosed in 1% of cases.
- The sarcoma-like type can occur in any of the other types of renal oncology and is characterized by a low degree of differentiation.
- Nephroblastoma refers to tumors that are more common in children and, possibly, of a genetic nature,
- The urothelial type is one of the rarest, but quite aggressive and is more associated with oncological diseases of the bladder.
Oncopathology proceeding in the kidneys goes through four stages (stages) in its development:
- A small lesion is located in its capsule (stage I)
- The growth of cancer cells goes beyond the primary boundaries, but remains within the organ itself (stage II),
- Further spread of the tumor to nearby tissues and penetration into the regional lymphatic system (stage III)
- A cancer patient has metastasis in other parts of the body (stage IV).
Metastasis of carcinomas occurs in two ways: lymphogenous and hematogenous.
The insidiousness of such an oncological disease is that initially it behaves quite asymptomatically. Basically, a person begins to notice problems with well-being, when the mutant cells have already left the borders of the focus and began to invade nearby tissues.
If at least one of the following signs is found, you must immediately seek medical help:
Diagnostic capabilities of modern medicine
The diagnosis must necessarily begin with the collection of anamnesis and manual examination by a specialist. Further, it is up to clinical, laboratory and instrumental research methods.
In the analysis of blood with this pathology, the level of ESR will be increased, the number of erythrocytes and calcium will increase. In a number of variants, liver dysfunction (Shtofer syndrome) is also detected in cancer patients according to the test results.
Among the techniques successfully used by modern urology and oncology, ultrasound diagnostics, cystoscopy, radiography, excretory urography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, radioisotope nephroscintigraphy and positron emission tomography are widely used.
The introduction of new technologies in medicine has made it possible not only to determine the exact localization of carcinoma, but also the location of its metastases.
The final verdict is made after examining a tissue sample (biopsy) taken from the epicenter.
Principles and tactics of dealing with the disease
The only effective way to combat renal cell carcinoma, currently proposed by medicine, is surgical intervention. A lesion with a diameter of no more than 4 cm is resected using laparoscopic equipment. The operation is considered gentle, as it involves the partial removal of the affected tissues, the adrenal gland, perineal fat and fascia.
In more complex variants, the abdominal operation is shown in the form of total nephrectomy. If in the course of the work metastases are found in nearby organs, specialists will decide to get rid of them.
In case of contraindications to the above methods, the principle of treatment will be to use radiation therapy, cryoablation and radiofrequency ablation (under the control of an ultrasound system). In recent years, embolization of the vascular network feeding the tumor site has been practiced. Such medical tactics will not completely solve the problem, but will significantly slow down the course of cancer and prolong life. Due to its low effectiveness for such patients, the use of chemotherapy is avoided in modern medicine.
As additional measures in the treatment of cancer patients with similar diagnoses, doctors are actively prescribing immunomodulators, the action of which is aimed at improving the functioning of the immune system and the ability to independently fight foreign cells.
Predicting the survival of diagnosed patients
Oncologists are confident that the prognosis of the survival of patients with this type of oncopathology directly depends on the stage at which the diagnosis is made. Therefore, the sooner a person with discomfort seeks medical help, the more chances he has for a future prosperous existence after discharge from the clinic. It should also be borne in mind that each cancer patient has its own individual characteristics, which may not coincide with the numbers of general monitoring.
According to medical statistics, the average rate of positive further outcome during the first five years in patients with diagnosed renal carcinoma is distributed as follows:
- For the first stage it reaches 65-70% (in some cases up to 90%)
- For the second stage – 60%.
- For the third – from 30 to 50%.
- For the fourth, no more than 7%.
It is important to note that the success of therapy lies not only in the qualified actions of medical specialists, but also in a positive attitude towards the patient’s recovery.
Prevention measures that preserve health
Summing up the above, we must conclude that the human body is both complex and fragile. Everyone can protect their health from malignant neoplasms, one has only to follow the following simple recommendations:
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