Kidney Cancer Symptoms: 12 Early Warning Signs of the Life-Threatening Disease

 

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 11 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

Adapted from http://www.dailystar.co.uk/health/605586/Kidney-cancer-symptoms-treatment-males-females-early-warning-signs

The Management of Small Renal Masses and Kidney Cancer

 

kidney-cancer
Earlier detection of small renal masses has led to new treatment options for kidney cancer. Join Johns Hopkins urologist Phil Pierorazio, M.D., as he discusses advances in the diagnosis and treatment of the small renal mass.
Monday, September 12, 2016
7–8 p.m. EST

 

http://ow.ly/Yw1B303JuF1

Go for new cancer treatments

WHEN it comes to cancer, many healthcare professionals advocate early detection to increase the chances of successful treatment. In reality, this is hardly the case. Although there are no Malaysian-centric statistics, research has shown that almost 50% of cancer patients in Britain are diagnosed late, making treatment less likely to succeed and reducing their chances of survival.

What this means is we need to ensure that patients with late diagnosis are able to access treatment without compromising their quality of life.

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) or kidney cancer is often diagnosed late. This is because the symptoms for RCC are similar to those of other diseases and may only surface in the late stages. In fact, 49% of patients in Malaysia are diagnosed with RCC when the cancer is in the final stage (Stage IV). A study showed that the five-year survival rate of patients with Stage IV RCC was only 13%.

Kidney cancer is among the top 10 cancers in Western communities. According to the 2007 Malaysia National Cancer Registry Report, RCC accounts for 43.8% of new kidney cancers. However, these statistics are quite dated as it has been nine years since the data was collected.

Advances in medical research have led to new treatment modules. A revised healthcare policy should ideally be aligned with innovation in cancer treatments. Despite new targeted therapies being approved for use in the US and Europe, these therapies are still limited in most parts of South-East Asia, including Malaysia. And even if they are available in the market, patients have to purchase the drugs from private medical facilities, excluding the majority of Malaysians (75%) who seek treatment at government hospitals.

In the treatment for RCC, there is only one drug approved in the government formulary. More options are needed because a single drug may not be right for every patient. For those who are not able to respond to this particular treatment, access to an alternative drug is often a lengthy and uncertain process. For some patients, the options available to them are so dismal, there is almost a case of no option at all.

In developed countries, drug choices are fully funded by the government, leading to patients having equal access to various drugs of treatment that best suit them. In Malaysia, drug choices are limited. Patients may have to pay out-of-pocket to access these treatments, putting them in a financial dilemma of cost versus survival.

In fact, a recent study by Universiti Malaya showed that 5% of cancer patients and their families were pushed into poverty, and that cancer resulted in “financial catastrophe” for almost half of the patients who suffered from economic hardship.

The policy of approving new drugs is based on an analysis of the quality of life years patients gain versus the cost of the drug. Unfortunately, drug affordability is determined by pharmaceutical companies based on the affordability of developed countries. This leads to a mismatch in drug affordability in a country like Malaysia, where Malaysians have a diverse range of economic situations. Furthermore, no matter how clinically effective a drug is touted to be, no drug has been approved in the government formulary in recent years.

Cancer is set to be a major burden of disease worldwide and the leading cause of morbidity and mortality. It is imperative for policy makers to review and update the targeted cancer therapy treatments currently available in the national formulary so that efficacious medicines are accessible to the majority of the population in public hospitals.

We hope increased funding will be made available to assist patients in their treatment, allowing them to live longer with a better quality of life and without putting them at risk of financial catastrophe.

While Malaysia’s public healthcare system continues to evolve to meet the needs of a growing and aging population as well as alarming rate of non-communicable diseases (NCD), let us be aware of the imperative need for this country to also keep abreast of breakthrough therapies available for patients and to champion for these therapies to be accessible at our public hospitals.

Cancer does not discriminate. Every patient, regardless of their economic status or cancer stage, deserves access to treatment.

DATUK DR MOHD IBRAHIM ABDUL WAHID

Medical Director, Beacon International Medical Centre

Vice President of College of Radiology (COR) Malaysia

Sciatica

sciatica

 

I’ve veered off-topic yet again with a bit about sciatica.  I’ve dealt with this for years and years and had a bunch of opinions from a lot of people on what to do, what to take.  For me, nothing seems to help except waiting it out for about a week, then it settles down.  I’ve tried heat, cold, Tylenol, prescriptions, exercises, sitting, standing, lying down…

Just wait a week.  Right now, I’m on day 6, so I have high hopes for tomorrow.

I do notice that sitting is marginally worse than lying or standing.  I guess that maybe compresses the nerve more?  I do have a bit of Oxycodone left over from my knee pain (which I still have – luckily, on the same leg – just not as badly), so I take 1/2 of one to help me sleep at night.

kidding1
Whenever I think of Oxycodone, I’m reminded of the night that I was diagnosed with kidney cancer.  I’d just been admitted to a room and someone came to visit me.  She offered to buy my Oxy from me.  I was stunned.  Then, she said she was just kidding.

Um, no.  I can’t think of anyone who would even think of buying Oxy who didn’t have some kind of issue – even as a “joke”.

 

 

Some info from the Mayo Clinic

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.

Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disk, bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.

Although the pain associated with sciatica can be severe, most cases resolve with non-operative treatments in a few weeks. People who have severe sciatica that’s associated with significant leg weakness or bowel or bladder changes might be candidates for surgery.

Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. You might feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it’s especially likely to follow a path from your low back to your buttock and the back of your thigh and calf.

The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain. Sometimes it can feel like a jolt or electric shock. It can be worse when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms. Usually only one side of your body is affected.

Some people also have numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. You might have pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another part.

Read more at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/basics/definition/con-20026478

Is blood in your urine cause for concern?

blood_urine

Oh, yes!  This was my very first indication that I had kidney cancer.  Here’s part of my story…

From https://cushingsbios.com/2016/05/09/maryo-10-years-cancer-free/

April 28 2006 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 anesthesia 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.

 

The News Item that inspired this post:

The sight of blood in your urine is enough to make anyone panic. It doesn’t always indicate a serious problem, but it’s important you get it checked out with your doctor.

Blood in the urine is known as hematuria. There are two forms of hematuria:

Gross hematuria – This is when you can see blood in the urine. The urine may look pink, red, or cola-colored due to the presence of red blood cells (RBCs). Most of the time, other than the change in appearance in urine, most people do not have other symptoms.

Microscopic hematuria – This is when you cannot see blood in the urine but it can be detected when examined under a microscope. Most people with microscopic hematuria have no symptoms.

Causes of blood in the urine:
When a person has hematuria, the kidneys or other parts of the urinary tract allow blood cells to leak into the urine. Anyone, including children, can be at risk for blood in the urine, and it can occur as a result of many common conditions. Some of those include:

Menstruation
Vigorous or strenuous exercise
Sexual activity
Urinary tract infection
Kidney infection
Kidney or bladder stones
Injury
Family history of kidney disease

More serious problems that could be causing blood in your urine might be:

Kidney or bladder cancer
Polycystic kidney disease
Irritation or swelling in the kidney, prostate in men, or another part of the urinary tract
Blood clots
Sickle cell disease
Enlarged prostate
Medications – the anti-cancer drug cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) and penicillin can cause urinary bleeding.

Diagnosing hematuria
Hematuria is diagnosed with a urine sample called a urinalysis. The urine sample is collected in a special container at a doctor’s office and usually tested in a lab for analysis. The lab technician places a strip of chemically treated paper called a dipstick in the urine. If RBCs are present, patches on the dipstick change color. When RBCs are noted, then the urine is further examined under a microscope to make the diagnosis of hematuria.

Depending on the circumstances, the doctor may order further testing such as a urinalysis, blood test, biopsy, cystoscopy, or a kidney imaging test.

Treating hematuria
Hematuria is treated by addressing its underlying cause. If no serious health problem is detected, no treatment may be necessary. If your hematuria is caused by a urinary tract infection, it will be treated with antibiotics. A urinalysis should be repeated within 6 weeks after antibiotic treatment ends to be sure the infection is gone.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team and the chief medical correspondent for am970 in New York City. Learn more at roboticoncology.com. Visit Dr. Samadi’s blog at SamadiMD.com. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter and Facebook.

Read more at http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/06/23/is-blood-in-your-urine-cause-for-concern.html

 

Are there any advantages to human growth hormone?

Harvard Men’s Health Watch

Ask the doctor

Q. I’ve heard about the benefits of human growth hormone (HGH) for older individuals. Is this something I should try?

A. The benefits of HGH supplementation for older adults are unproven, and perhaps most telling is that these products have a negligible effect on HGH levels. In addition, there are concerns about potential side effects.

HGH comes in two forms: injections and pills. Since HGH injections are difficult to administer, pills are often preferred. Yet, these supplements do not actually contain HGH like injections do, because the hormone would quickly break down in the digestive tract. Instead, they contain amino acids that are absorbed by the body, which raises HGH levels. (They are also more expensive and can cost $100-plus for a month’s supply.)

HGH levels naturally decline as people age, which makes sense since our bodies stop growing during the late teenage years. So why would you need higher HGH levels later in life? The hype around HGH comes from a few studies that showed HGH injections can increase lean body mass and shrink body fat, which led to claims of HGH as an “anti-aging” hormone. However, the effects on strength and body weight are quite minimal. In addition, HGH can increase the amount of soft tissues in the body, which can lead to swelling, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and breast tenderness in men.

There is also a concern that HGH might promote cancer growth. (MaryO’Note:  I always mentioned this to doctors when I was diagnosed with kidney cancer.  Even though I couldn’t take HGH for the first 5 years after diagnosis, none of my doctors would confirm a connection between HGH and my cancer)

If you want to improve your strength, forget about HGH and increase your exercise. Some studies suggest this alone may be more effective than HGH supplementation for raising growth hormone levels in the body.

—William Kormos, MD
Editor in Chief, Harvard Men’s Health Watch

Originally published: July 2016

Adapted from http://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/are-there-any-advantages-to-human-growth-hormone

Exelixis’ Kidney Cancer Drug Cabometyx Positive in Phase II

Exelixis, Inc. (EXELAnalyst Report) announced positive top-line data from the phase II trial, CABOSUN, on Cabometyx in patients suffering from previously untreated advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Results showed that Cabometyx led to significant improvement in progression-free survival in patients with previously untreated advanced RCC, compared with sunitinib. Consequently, the trial met its primary endpoint.

Safety data from the Cabometyx arm of the study were consistent with those observed in previous studies in patients with advanced RCC.

Final results of the trial will be presented at a medical conference shortly.

We remind investors that Cabometyx (the tablet formulation of cabozantinib) was approved by the FDA in Apr 2016 for the treatment of patients with advanced RCC, who have received prior anti-angiogenic therapy.

Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has accepted a Marketing Authorisation Application (MAA) for Cabometyx for review in the same indication. Upon a potential approval, the drug would be marketed in the EU by Exelixis’ partner, Ipsen. The MAA has been granted accelerated assessment by the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), which translates a review period of 150 days instead of the standard 210 days.

Exelixis also plans to submit results of the CABOSUN trial to regulatory authorities in order to discuss further development of Cabometyx and submission strategy for the treatment of first-line advanced RCC.

As per the American Cancer Society, kidney cancer is one of the top 10 most commonly diagnosed forms of cancer in both men and women in the U.S. Hence, approval of Cabometyx in first-line advanced RCC will boost its growth prospects significantly.

Exelixis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the healthcare sector include Abbott Laboratories (ABT – Analyst Report) , Johnson & Johnson (JNJ – Analyst Report) and Sanofi (SNY – Analyst Report) . All three stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

From https://www.zacks.com/stock/news/218403/exelixis-kidney-cancer-drug-cabometyx-positive-in-phase-ii