Kidney Cancer awareness is very important to me, because I learned I had it in 2006.
I’m pretty sure I had it before 2006 but in that year I picked up my husband for a biopsy and took him to an outpatient surgical center. While I was there waiting for the biopsy to be completed, I started noticing blood in my urine and major abdominal cramps. I left messages for several of my doctors on what I should do. I finally decided to see my PCP after I got my husband home.
When Tom was done with his testing, his doctor took one look at me and asked if I wanted an ambulance. I said no, that I thought I could make it to the emergency room ok – Tom couldn’t drive because of the anesthetic they had given him. I barely made it to the ER and left the car with Tom to park. Tom’s doctor followed us to the ER and became my new doctor.
When I was diagnosed in the ER with kidney cancer, Tom’s doctor said that he could do the surgery but that he would recommend someone even more experienced, Dr. Amir Al-Juburi.
Dr. Amir Al-Juburi has been so kind to me, almost like a kindly grandfather might be, and he got rid of all 10 pounds of my cancer in addition to my kidney.
More than 12,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year, according to 2014 statistics.
And although 42% of cases are deemed “preventable”, only 50% of patients survive kidney disease for 10 or more years. I will celebrate 12 years next month, on May 9!
It’s the seventh most common cancer in the UK and is much more prevalent in males.
But do you know the warning signs of the potentially deadly disease?
Here we reveal the 12 main symptoms of kidney cancer:
1. Blood in your pee Not until the day I was diagnosed.
You may notice your pee is darker than normal or reddish in color. This could also be a sign of chronic kidney disease and bladder cancer.
2. A persistent pain in your lower back or side, just below your ribs No
3. A lump or swelling in your side (although kidney cancer is often too small to feel) No
4. Extreme tiredness (fatigue) Possibly, although I assumed it was from Cushing’s
5. Loss of appetite and weight loss No
6. Persistent high blood pressure Yes
7. A high temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above No
8. Night sweats No
9. In men, swelling of the veins in the testicles Nope
10. Swollen glands in your neck No
11. Bone pain No
12. Coughing up blood No
If you are concerned about any of these symptoms you should see you GP, they will carry out a series of tests, including urine and blood tests, in order to get an accurate diagnosis.
What are the treatment options?
The treatment will depend on the size and severity of the cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
These are the five main treatments:
1. Surgery to remove part or all of the affected kidney Yes, all plus some other stuff
This the main treatment for most people
2. Ablation therapies No
Where the cancerous cells are destroyed by freezing or heating them
3. Biological therapies No
Medications that help stop the cancer growing or spreading
4. Embolisation No
A procedure to cut off the blood supply to the cancer
5. Radiotherapy No
Where high-energy radiation is used to target cancer cells and relieve symptoms
For more information go to nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-kidney