Kidney Cancer and Myeloma : Q&A with Apollo’s Dr Anil D’Cruz

What are the early signs of kidney cancer?

Vikas Tripathi
Kanpur

Unfortunately, Kidney does not have very specific early -warning signs. Therefore, a high index of suspicion should be maintained, kidney cancers being not very uncommon. Any bleeding in the urine, when you pass urine known as hematuria, is a sign of kidney cancer. The bleeding usually is painless as opposed to certain other infections in urinary bladder, which will be painful bleeding.

Sometimes, a lump in your flanks or in the upper abdomen could be a sign of kidney cancer. Often kidney cancers present with very vague symptoms such as unexplained fever, they could be weight loss, there could be a dull aching pain again on the side of the flank of your abdomen, upper abdomen or your back. Feeling very tired, not being able to complete the day’s activities is another sign of kidney cancer, though it could be attributed to other cancers as well.

If I have cancer in one kidney, how likely is it to spread to the other one?

Sarah Sebastian
Trichy

Kidney cancer is unlikely to spread from one kidney to the other kidney. Usually kidney cancer spreads to regional lymph nodes. It can spread to surrounding organs or it can spread to the lungs, the bones, the liver and other distant organs. About 5% of kidney cancers could be bilateral, that means affecting both kidneys, that is 1 in 5 cancers. These are usually with genetic diseases and other things. And usually, one -sided kidney cancer spreads to the lungs, liver, bones, sometimes to the brains and a small gland that sits on top of the kidney known as the adrenal gland.

What can I do to reduce the risk of kidney cancer?

Rohit Shankar
Mysuru

Kidney cancer, if you want to reduce the risk, there are few factors that are responsible, and you should take care of these factors. They are not specific to kidney but to other non-communicable diseases and cancers. Smoking has been linked to Kidney Cancers, so tobacco in any form should be avoided. Kidney cancer can also have a higher incidence among those who are obese, so keep your weight in check.

Research has attributed unnecessary over abuse of over-the -counter painkillers, what we call non -steroidal anti -inflammatory medicines to kidney cancer. Lastly, if you have a family history of kidney cancer or certain genetic syndromes, they have various genetic syndromes, one of the most common is the Von Hippel -Lindau disease. You should maintain a high index of suspicion and be with your doctor for frequent checks.

What are the early signs of myeloma?

Viswanath Rao
Vijayawada

Unfortunately, myeloma is also a condition or a type of cancer of the bone marrow or plasma cells that rarely causes specific symptoms in the early stages. In fact, symptoms or signs appear in intermediate or advanced stages but in the early stages, any kind of weight loss, any type of weakness, any sort of tiredness, it could be a sign of other cancers, could also be of myeloma. Myelomas in these stages sometimes are picked up incidentally with blood or urine investigations.

But specific early signs of myeloma, though not early, affect the bones. So, you will start getting bone pain, it could be fracture, low back pain because the bone starts getting eaten up. And sometimes, these myeloma proteins go and clog the kidneys. happens with advanced disease so you will see abnormal signs in the renal or the kidney parameters. Sometimes people have lowered immunity, and they might manifest with just fever with infection, upper respiratory tracks and then when the doctor does routine tests, they find out that the patient has myeloma.

Does stem cell transplant cure myeloma?

Tanushree Das
Siliguri

Stem cell transplants have been used in multiple myeloma, but usually when you use stem cells, it’s with advanced stages of multiple myelomas. Stem cells basically are embryonic cells or cells that replicate and make cells in their own form. Stem cell therapy is used for blood cancers, leukemia, Hodgkin’s, non -Hodgkin’s and some solid cancers as well. They have also been researched for various non -cancer conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s, certain neurological conditions, heart failure and such conditions. Stem cells can be used in multiple myeloma, but usually myeloma in the earlier stages is treated with chemotherapy and with what we call monoclonal antibodies or targeted chemotherapy.

What are the different stages of myeloma, and how do they impact treatment options and prognosis?

Dennis
Kochi

There are various staging systems used for multiple myeloma, but simply put, the staging system varies from stage 1 to 4, and it depends on two things. One, on the levels of certain blood reports such as the albumin, the beta 2 microglobulin, looking at various blood parameters such as LDH and also genetic changes in the cells of the myeloma. It also depends on the organs affected, whether it’s picked up in the first stage with just blood and urine examinations when it is curable, but most patients rarely are picked up in this stage or when it is eaten into the bones. It depends how much of the bones have been eaten into and most importantly whether the myeloma proteins have gone and clogged your kidneys when you come with renal failure.

People who come in advanced stages with their kidneys being clogged and such like that find it very difficult to get cured, but in the earlier stages there are lot of good chemotherapeutic drugs including targeted chemotherapy that can help cure myeloma. Sometimes, in advanced stages myeloma cannot be cured, but just given that we have good drugs we can keep the cancer in check or remission and help patients lead a meaningful and good quality of life.

What are the common risk factors for developing kidney cancer, and are there any preventive measures that can be taken?

Pramod Baskar
Chennai

The risk factors for kidney cancer usually are smoking, obesity or being overweight, over the counter, over -prescription of anti -inflammatories and non -steroidal anti -inflammatory drugs and in some people a genetic condition. So, you must stay away from tobacco not only for kidney cancer but other cancers as well. And keep your weight in check.

Can kidney stones lead to kidney cancer

Anupama Raj
Bengaluru

Can not drinking enough water cause kidney cancer
Vijtih Vijayan
Kerala

Drinking enough water is a healthy habit. It keeps you hydrated, keeps the cells of your body in good condition & flushes out the kidney. But dehydration by and large leads to kidney stones if you have a predisposition and certain other dietary factors but it’s a good habit to drink enough water, it helps in keeping your body healthy and preventing other types of diseases as well.

What are the first symptoms of kidney cancer
Asif
Kozhikode

Are people with kidney failure prone to kidney cancer
Meris Cherian
Kochi

Kidney failure and cancer have an interesting correlation. They are related bidirectionally, meaning that people with kidney cancer can undergo kidney failure because of treatment or removal of parts of the kidney. And conversely, people with kidney failure can have a higher incidence of cancer. Probably because some of the etiological agents such as toxins and other things are common to both. There is a link among people who have chronic disease undergoing frequent dialysis having a higher incidence of cancer. And this again is not attributed directly to dialysis but because of common etiological factors. So theoretically, yes, patients with kidney failure are more prone to kidney cancer and should be under a regular check.