By Aimee Rowley • June 26, 2018 • Comments Off on Life Saving Kidney Cancer Treatment
A cancer diagnosis is not something that anyone ever wants, but the good news is that medical science has come a long way and there are now a lot of treatment options out there for people who are wrestling with diseases such as kidney cancer. If you have been given this diagnosis, then your health-care professional will discuss treatment options with you. The therapies that are offered to patients will depend partly on whether the tumour has spread to other parts of the body or not.
The most common kidney cancer treatment is to remove the affected part of the organ. This is used in the majority of cases because it is an effective and simple treatment that has a high success rate. Radiofrequency ablation and cryotherapy are also common options.
If the condition has spread, then it may not be possible to achieve a complete cure, but radiotherapy and medication may help to slow or stop the spread of the disease, and surgery may still be used to remove the tumour that is in the kidney itself.
Ablation is performed either by radiofrequency (heat), or cryotherapy (freezing the cells). This may be recommended to someone who already has kidney issues, so, therefore, is not a candidate for a radical nephrectomy. These treatments are done via a small, needle-like probe, so the healing time is shorter. They require specialist equipment so may not be an option at all hospitals. Ablation can have some short-term side-effects, but they are typically worth the risk.
For advanced conditions, the most common kidney cancer treatment is biological therapy. Your doctor or consultant may prescribe medications to take twice a day that will help to slow the spread of the condition. There are numerous drugs that can be used, and some of the most common ones are:
Another drug that is sometimes used is Lenvatinib.
These medications can have a number of side-effects, including nausea, indigestion, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, tiredness, high blood pressure and infertility.
Most of these drugs are taken as tablets, however, Nivolumab is administered as a drip that is given fortnightly. This particular drug works with the body’s immune system to help it destroy the cancerous cells. Side-effects are relatively rare, but some people experience tiredness, coughing and shortness of breath, diarrhoea or a rash.
Another option for people who are not in sufficiently good health to have surgery to remove the kidney may opt for embolisation. This treatment involves inserting a catheter into one of the blood vessels in the groin and guiding it up to the blood vessel that is connected to the growth. Once the catheter is in place, a substance is injected into it, which will block that particular blood vessel. Without a good blood supply, the tumour will die off.
Using radiation to target the growth is a treatment that has been around for a long time, but it is not a reliable cure for cancer of the kidney. It can, however, slow down the progression and control the symptoms of the disease. In cases where the growth has spread to other areas of the body, radiotherapy is frequently recommended. Usually, radiotherapy is performed for a few minutes a day, every day for several weeks. There are some side effects, including diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, and tiredness.
The diagnosis can be a difficult thing to absorb at first. Your medical team will do the best that they can to support you and to explain your options and how the treatments work. Do not be afraid to ask questions and to stay in contact with the team. Be sure to ask for support in other areas of your life. Remember that there is support for people who are carers, and for children, friends, and relatives as well. Find out more about cancer support at https://www.cancer.ie/support
Many people who are told that they have cancer are cured or go into remission following treatment. If the tumour returns then there are further treatments available, and early diagnosis offers the best chance of curing the condition and preventing it from returning. For this reason, it is a good idea to go to the doctor if you feel unwell, to take advantage of health checkups and wellness programs and to try to live a healthy lifestyle as much as possible. With early diagnosis and the right treatment, you can have the best possible chance of making a full recovery and leading a normal life.
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