The questions that usually arise in a kidney cancer patient’s mind are “how fast does kidney cancer spread?” and “to what extent has it spread?” Oncologists believe that kidney cancer spreads mostly at an early stage and at a very fast rate. Kidney cancer is much more dangerous and fast spreading than some other forms of cancers. It is difficult to diagnose this type of cancer at the earliest stage, which is curable. In the first stage, there are minimal cancerous cells in the kidney, which usually go unnoticed in the first few medical examinations.
Kidney cancer outgrows to infect other parts of the body (usually liver and lungs) through the bloodstream and lymph nodes. The growth of cancerous cells in an individual depends on certain factors such as his/her general health condition, genetic history, age and the stage at which cancer has been diagnosed. In recent times, numerous techniques have developed by which an oncologist can measure the extent and rate of cancer growth to determine the right treatment course.
The main symptom of kidney cancer is bleeding during urination, which appears in the initial stages of the disease. The amount of blood in urine can be minimal and the patient may not notice it. With the progress of cancer in the kidney, other symptoms such as pain in the side, fever, blood pressure and weight loss start appearing gradually reflecting the spread of the disease.
The different stages of cancer are considered to be the most reliable indicators of knowing the treatment course and the patient's survival chances. The early the stage of the disease the better the chances of treating it. The stages of kidney cancer are:
Stage I: Cancer cells found in minimal numbers only in the kidney.
Stage II: Cancerous tissue develops in the kidney, but does not affect bloodstream.
Stage III: Cancer has spread to the blood and lymph node.
Stage IV: Cancer becomes metastatic (spreads to the other body parts).
To hinder the growth of cancerous tissue in the kidney or other parts of the body, diagnosing the cancer at stage1 or stage 2 is extremely important. The treatment course depends on the size and location of the tumour. Surgery with targeted therapy or immunotherapy is the main line treatment for kidney cancer. In some rare cases, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are also used. Patients with an advanced stage of kidney cancer receive multiple therapies to restrict the growth of cancer tissue.
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