Kidney Cancer & the role of Immunotherapy in Cancer treatment: Q&A with Apollo's Dr Anil D'Cruz

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Name: Lena Anish

Location: Bangalore

Question: How does kidney cancer differ from other types of cancer in terms of symptoms and treatment?

Answer:The kidney is a part of the genito-urinary system. Usually, individuals with kidney cancer manifest with a lump or a swelling in the abdomen when it is large. At that stage, the surgery forms the core of management and the chances of spreading to other organs are very high. One of the initial symptoms that can help diagnose kidney cancer at an early stage is painless hematuria i.e., blood in the urine.

If at any point of time, you notice blood in the urine, it is highly advisable to consult a specialist at the earliest to rule out malignant growth in the entire urinary tract. Kidney cancers are treated if the growth is small and operable with surgery followed by some form of chemotherapy or other treatment depending on the stage of cancer. If it is very advanced at presentation and surgery is ruled out, then we treat it with targeted therapy.

Name: Anand Shankar

Location: Mumbai

Question: What are the stages of cancer? What does this mean?

Answer:There are 4 stages of cancer. Stage 1 to stage 4. Generally, stage 1 &2 are localized cancers while stage 3 is local spread of cancer and stage 4 is generalized spread of cancer or metastatic spread. The staging varies according to the different parts of the body, and it is beyond the scope of this column to explain it in depth. However, it must be remembered that early-stage cancer is treated with single stage or limited treatment and has the highest chance of success as well as preservation of the organ.

Name: Ritcha

Location: Mumbai

Question: Is tobacco and alcohol a reason to develop kidney cancer?

Answer:The exact cause of kidney cancer is not known in a vast majority of patients. However, we do know there are certain predisposing factors. The risk factors are increasing age, smoking, people who are obese and those who have a family history of kidney cancer.

Name: Sandhya Ravi

Location: Delhi

Question: How do we differentiate the symptoms of kidney cancer with those of minor inconveniences like kidney stone?

Answer: Usually, kidney cancer will cause painless hematuria. That means there will be bleeding without pain which is in contrast to kidney stones where you get pain as the predominant symptom. There could be bleeding but pain is the primary symptom when suffering from kidney stones. The bleeding in kidney stones will usually not be frank (it will not be red). The urine on testing may show blood cells. In kidney cancer, there is a possibility of frank bleeding.

Name: Tia

Location: Mumbai

Question:Is chemotherapy required to cure Kidney Cancer?

Answer: Kidney cancer, if can be removed in-toto through surgery, is the best option for treatment and cure. With advanced stage, after surgery we do give patients some form of chemotherapy or radiotherapy. But the main treatment is surgery to cure a patient. The chemotherapy that may be given is usually targeted chemotherapy.