What is Addison’s disease?

The adrenal glands are located just above each kidney. They work together with the hypothalamus and pituitary glands in the brain to keep the human body in a stable, constant condition. The pituitary gland, often referred to as the “master” gland, is about the size of a pea and is considered the most important part of a system called the Endocrine System.

In general, the Endocrine System is in charge of body processes that happen slowly, such as cell growth. Faster processes like breathing and body movement are controlled by the Nervous System.

What normally happens is the hypothalamus produces something called “corticotrophin releasing hormone” or CRH. CRH then causes the pituitary gland to produce ACTH leading to the production of Cortisol and ADH by the adrenal glands.

More at Trinidad Express Newspapers: Features | What is Addison’s disease?.

Survival rates for kidney cancer by TNM stage. | Cancer Fact Sheet

Some people with cancer may want to know the survival rates for their type of cancer. Others may not find the numbers helpful, or may even not want to know them. If you decide that you don’t want to know them, stop reading here and skip to the next section.

The 5-year survival rate refers to the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after their cancer is found. Keep in mind that many of these patients live much longer than 5 years after their cancer is found and treated. And survival rates are based on patients whose cancer was found and treated more than 5 years ago. Better treatments now may mean that patients have a better outlook.

The numbers below come from the National Cancer Data Base and are based on patients whose cancer was found in the years 2001 and 2002. These are observed survival rates. They include people with kidney cancer who may have later died from other causes, such as heart disease. People with kidney cancer tend to be older and may have other serious health conditions. Therefore, the percentage of people surviving the cancer itself is likely to be higher.

 

kidney-survivalWhile these numbers give an overall picture, every person is different. Statistics can’t predict what will happen in your case. Talk with your cancer care team if you have questions about your own chances of a cure, or how long you might survive your cancer. They know your situation best.

via Survival rates for kidney cancer by TNM stage. | Cancer Fact Sheet.

Are There Early Signs of Kidney Cancer?

kidney-cancerKnowing Your Risk

Kidney cancer isn’t as common as breast or lung cancer. For most people, the chance of getting kidney cancer in their lifetime is less than two percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

Your risk increases if you smoke, are obese, or have been exposed to chemicals such as asbestos and benzene. Sometimes kidney cancer can run in families. If you’re at high risk, talk to your doctor and watch out for symptoms.

Hard to Find

When someone has skin cancer, they might see an unusual growth on their skin. For example, breast cancer is often found when a woman discovers a lump in her breast. Because the kidneys are so deep inside the body, it’s harder to find kidney cancer just by looking or feeling for growths.

Searching from the Inside

Imaging tests like computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can spot cancer in the kidneys. Yet these tests are costly, and they often can’t differentiate between kidney cancer and noncancerous growths.

Usually, doctors only recommend CT or MRI scans for people who are at very high risk for kidney cancer because of an inherited condition, like von Hippel-Landau disease.

Warning Signs of Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms until the tumor has already grown. The most common symptom is blood in the urine, called hematuria. If the amount of blood is too small to be seen with the naked eye, it can be found on a urine test.

Other Symptoms

Blood in the urine is the main symptom of kidney cancer, but there are other signs too. Other symptoms include:

pain in the side or lower back

symptoms of an infection, such as fever, fatigue, and an overall sick feeling

losing weight without trying

swollen ankles

Many of these symptoms can be caused by other illnesses, like the flu or a back injury. But if these symptoms don’t go away, talk to your doctor.

What Your Doctor Might Find

During an exam, your doctor will look for other symptoms of kidney cancer that you couldn’t find on your own. They might press on your abdomen to check for a lump. Or tests might show high blood pressure or a low red blood cell count (anemia).

Kidney Cancer Tests

Many different tests can detect kidney cancer. Urine tests find traces of blood in the urine. Blood tests search for chemicals that the kidneys are supposed to remove from the body.

CT, MRI, and ultrasound scans create pictures of the kidneys and allow doctors to look for growths that may be cancerous. A biopsy removes a piece of tissue from the kidneys to be examined under a microscope for cancer.

What to Do Next

If you do have kidney cancer, your doctor will find out how advanced it is and whether it has spread to other parts of your body. This is called staging. It helps your doctor determine the right course of treatment for you.

Many different treatments are available for kidney cancer. Radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery can help stop the cancer and improve your long-term outlook.

via Are There Early Signs of Kidney Cancer? | Cancer factsheet.

Melanoma skin cancer guidelines for NHS updated – BBC News

New guidelines for diagnosing and treating melanoma skin cancers have been issued to the NHS in England.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) hopes they will end a wide variation in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

They include advice on diagnosing how far the cancer has progressed, identifying the best treatment, and improvements to follow-up care.

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that claims more lives than any other.

In 2012, the UK saw more than 2,000 deaths from melanoma and the number of melanoma cases is growing faster than any of the 10 most common cancers.

Experts believe this is largely down to the boom in foreign holidays over the past 40 years and, more recently, a big increase in the use of sunbeds.

Safe sun

Prof Mark Baker, from NICE, said everyone wants to enjoy the sun, but there are safe ways to do so.

“Using a sunscreen with a high SPF, spending time in the shade between 11:00 and 15:00, ensuring you don’t burn, and covering up with a hat, T-shirt and sunglasses.

“But overexposure to ultraviolent light from the sun can have very serious repercussions.

“Melanoma causes more deaths than all other skin cancers combined. Its incidence is rising at a worrying rate, faster than any other cancer.

“This new guideline addresses areas where there is uncertainty or variation in practice, and will help clinicians to provide the very best care for people with suspected or diagnosed melanoma, wherever they live.”

Experts warn that even though more people are now aware of the dangers of too much sun, it will be a generation or so before the number of melanoma deaths starts to fall.

via Melanoma skin cancer guidelines for NHS updated – BBC News.

FREE Patient and Survivor Conference in Northern California!

Other Stuff, Part 2: Kidney Cancer

 

 

From the Kidney Cancer Association:

 

REGISTER FOR FREE NOW!

2015 Kidney Cancer Association
Patient & Survivor Conference – Northern California

Saturday, August 15, 2015
8:00am – 3:00pm

Stanford Cancer Center

875 Blake Wilbur Drive, Palo Alto, CA 94304

Agenda has been posted. Click here to register for FREE today!

Learn about the latest treatments for kidney cancer, clinical trials and nutrition.

This conference is open to all patients, survivors, caregivers and family members. There is no cost to attend.

 Click here to register!

Click here for a list of nearby hotels. 

Please contact help@kidneycancer.org with questions or for more information.

Biopsy 2 of 4

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was having some biopsies done.  It had been planned for 3 of them today  2 on my right leg, 1 on my left.

Up at 6:30 to put Lidocaine/Prilocaine cream on the places, covered with waterproof bandages.

I arrived at my doctor’s at 8:30 and found that my insurance would only allow one biopsy at a time. <sigh>

 

leg1

The doctor removed most (or all?) of the largest one. There are 3 internal stitches and 7 on the outside.  When those 7 are removed in a couple weeks, the doctor will remove the second one, on the other leg.  Then, when the stitches come out for that, she’ll remove the 3rd.

My summer at the doctor’s.  LOL

Meanwhile, we were hoping the pathology report would come back today for the forehead one I did last week but it hasn’t yet.  No news is good news!

 

Patient Instructions for Biopsy Site Care from Johns Hopkins

  1. Leave your wound dressings in place for the rest of the day of the biopsy and keep them dry.
  2. Change band-aids daily starting the day after the biopsy.
  3. Showers are fine starting the day after the biopsy. Leave the band-aids in place while you shower and change them after you dry off.
  4. During the time period of daily band-aid changes, do not soak in a bath or swim.
  5. The average time for daily band-aid changes is 5 to 6 days (range is from 1 or 2 days up to 2 weeks).
  6. If you need to use anything to clean the wounds, hydrogen peroxide is recommended. If the wounds are fine (i.e., no signs of infection), all that is required is a daily band-aid change.
  7. The wounds may or may not form a scab as they heal; either way is fine.
  8. Continue to change the band-aids daily until there are no open wounds.
  9. The local anesthetic used for the biopsy will usually last for 1 to 2 hours after the procedure. After it wears off, you may have some mild, localized soreness and tenderness at the biopsy sites over the next day or two. You may find regular Tylenol is helpful for the discomfort.
  10. Refrain from doing extremely strenuous activity for the rest of the day of your biopsy (such as running or heavy lifting).
  11. Once you are without the band-aid, the biopsy sites may look slightly red or darker than the rest of your skin. This discoloration will gradually fade and blend back with your normal skin color. This fading process may take anywhere from a few months up to a year.
  12. It is very rare for people to have any problems during the healing period. It is normal for the biopsy sites to bleed a little bit or drain pink fluid for a day or two after the biopsies. They should not bleed excessively (i.e., through the band-aid) after that time. They should never drain pus. If you do experience problems with significant bleeding, redness, infection, or other problems, call your doctor’s office.

Skin Cancer

biopsy

 

 

We have a new melanoma in the family, so I’ll be posting a bit about that for a while.

I just had a shave biopsy above my eyebrow last Tuesday and I’ll have 3 punch biopsies on my legs next Tuesday.  Results to follow!

For the non-squeamish: