Ablation treatments in kidney cancers
What is kidney cancer?
Kidney cancer is a type of cancer in which abnormal cells grow uncontrollably in the cells of the kidneys. These abnormal cells over time replace normal cells and form a cancerous mass or tumor. Kidney cancer usually starts in one kidney, but can sometimes affect both kidneys. Kidney cancer usually does not cause symptoms and is often discovered incidentally in the early stages. However, in more advanced stages, symptoms such as bloody urine, back pain, weight loss, fatigue and loss of appetite may occur.
What are kidney cancers?
Kidney cancers can be of different types, but the most common type is renal cell carcinoma. Renal cell carcinoma is cancer that originates from the cells of the kidney tissue and constitutes approximately 85% of all kidney cancers. Other types of kidney cancer are:
Urothelial cancer: Cancer arising from cells in the renal pelvis, ureters, or bladder.
Wilms tumor: It is a rare type of kidney cancer that usually occurs in children.
Juxtamedullary tumor: It is a tumor close to the renal cortex.
Papillary carcinoma: Cancer arising from cells inside tubular structures in kidney tissue.
Chromophobic carcinoma: It is a cancer that originates from the cells of the kidney tissue and resembles renal cell carcinoma.
Carcinosarcoma: It is a rare type of cancer that originates from kidney tissue and is more aggressive than other kidney cancers.
In addition to these, other types of kidney cancer can also be seen, although rare.
What are the causes of kidney cancers?
Although the exact causes of kidney cancers are not fully known, some factors are known to increase the risk of kidney cancer. These are:
Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of kidney cancer.
Obesity: A high body mass index (BMI) increases the risk of kidney cancer.
Hypertension: High blood pressure also increases the risk of kidney cancer.
Family history of kidney cancer: The presence of family members with a history of kidney cancer increases a person's risk of developing kidney cancer.
Age: Kidney cancer is more common in people over the age of 50.
Gender: Men have a higher risk of developing kidney cancer than women.
Certain genetic disorders: Some rare genetic syndromes, particularly von Hippel-Lindau disease, Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome, hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma, and tuberous sclerosis may increase the risk of kidney cancer.
Dialysis treatment: People who take long-term dialysis treatment have an increased risk of kidney cancer.
Although these factors increase the risk of kidney cancer, most people do not develop kidney cancer despite having several of these risk factors.
What are the symptoms of kidney cancer?
Kidney cancer is usually asymptomatic in the early stages and is discovered incidentally during routine screening or imaging tests performed for another reason. However, some symptoms may occur in more advanced stages. Symptoms of kidney cancer may include:
Back pain, feeling of a mass in the back
Swelling or feeling of a mass in the abdomen
Loss of appetite, weight loss and fatigue
high blood pressure
low blood count
These symptoms may indicate that you may have kidney cancer, but they may also be signs of other kidney diseases or other medical conditions. Therefore, a person experiencing these symptoms should consult a healthcare professional.
What are the chances of surviving a person with kidney cancer?
The chances of surviving kidney cancer depend on many factors. Many factors can affect survival rates, including the type of kidney cancer, the stage of the cancer, a person's lifestyle, health status, and response to treatment.
The 5-year survival rate of renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer, can vary depending on the stage of the cancer. While approximately 70-90% of the patients detected in the early stages (stages 1 and 2) can survive within 5 years, the 5-year survival rate of the patients detected in the advanced stages (stages 3 and 4) is approximately 10-20%.
Survival rates for other types of kidney cancer can vary similarly to renal cell carcinoma and depend on the stage of the cancer.
However, these rates are only a general idea and may be different for each patient. Early and effective response to treatment, low stage of cancer, and general health of the patient can increase their chances of survival. Therefore, a person diagnosed with kidney cancer should talk to a healthcare professional about their treatment options and prospects.
If kidney cancer is diagnosed, is there a cure?
Yes, there are treatment options once kidney cancer is diagnosed. The treatment of kidney cancer is determined by the type and stage of the cancer and the general health of the patient.
Early-stage kidney cancers can only be cured by surgically removing part of the kidney. This procedure is called a partial nephrectomy. More advanced kidney cancers may require complete kidney removal (radical nephrectomy).
However, surgery alone may not be sufficient and other treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunotherapy may be used depending on the extent of the disease.
Some kidney cancers may require medical treatment before or after surgery. The aim of these treatments is to reduce the size of the cancer, to control the cancer before it metastasizes, and to prevent the cancer from spreading.
Treatment options may vary depending on the patient's general health, age, and other factors. Therefore, a person diagnosed with kidney cancer should talk to a healthcare professional about treatment options and determine the most appropriate treatment plan for them.
What are the ablation treatments used in kidney cancers?
Kidney cancer is a common type of cancer among urological cancers. Kidney cancer treatment can be done with different methods depending on the type and stage of the cancer and the general health of the patient. Ablation treatments in kidney cancers are a treatment method used to kill cancerous cells without surgical intervention.
Ablation treatments use high-frequency energy sources or refrigerant gases to kill cancerous cells. Ablation therapy is performed under local anesthesia and in most cases results in same-day discharge.
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure that uses high-frequency electrical energy to heat cancerous cells. This procedure is directed at the site of cancerous cells through a needle, and a high-frequency electrical current heats and kills the cancerous cells. The RFA procedure is performed under local anesthesia and is usually completed within a few hours. This process can be used to kill all or some of the cancerous cells, depending on the size and location of the cancer.
Microwave Ablation (MWA)
Microwave ablation (MWA) is a process that uses microwave energy to heat cancerous cells to kill cancerous cells. In this process, a needle is directed to the place of cancerous cells and microwave energy heats the cancerous cells and kills them. The MWA procedure is performed under local anesthesia, similar to the RFA procedure, and is usually completed within a few hours. The MWA process can also be used to kill all or some of the cancerous cells.
Cryoablation is the process of destroying cancerous cells by freezing them. This operation is carried out using a special device. Cryoablation can be performed under local or general anesthesia depending on the location of the tumor. During the procedure, the tip of the device is placed on the cancerous tissue and frozen using a refrigerant such as liquid nitrogen in the tissue. Once the tissue is frozen, it is left to thaw and refrozen. This process causes the cancerous cells to die completely and can cause the tumor to shrink or disappear.
The advantages of ablation treatments are that they do not require surgery, have a short recovery time, and have fewer side effects. However, ablation treatments may only be suitable for small and localized kidney cancers.
In which patients is ablation therapy suitable for kidney cancers?
Tumor size: Kidney tumors usually larger than 4 cm require surgical intervention. However, some types of tumors may contain cancer cells before they reach large sizes. Therefore, ablation therapy for small-sized kidney tumors may be a less invasive option compared to surgery.
General health status of the patient: Some patients may have health problems that may not be suitable for surgery. Ablation therapy may be a more suitable option for these patients.
Tumor location: Surgery may be riskier if the tumor is near the center of the kidney. Ablation therapy may also be preferred in these situations.
Risk of recurrence: In some patients, the kidney cancer tumor may recur. Ablation therapy may be a less invasive option than surgery for patients at high risk of cancer recurrence.
Maintaining functional kidneys: Some patients have only one kidney or have health problems in the other kidney. Ablation therapy may be a more suitable option for these patients by preserving kidney function.
How safe and effective is ablation therapy for kidney cancers?
Ablation therapy is very effective in kidney tumors. Ablation therapy uses methods such as high-energy radio frequency, microwave energy, or cryoablation (cooling) to kill the cancerous cells of the tumor. These processes cause the death and destruction of tumor cells.
Some studies have shown that ablation therapy in small-sized kidney tumors gives similar results to surgical intervention. In addition, it has been determined that patients are less exposed to complications such as infection, bleeding and postoperative pain after ablation therapy.
However, ablation therapy may have a higher risk of cancer recurrence in large tumors or due to certain characteristics of the tumor. Therefore, physicians must consider factors such as the patient's medical history, physical exam results, and imaging tests to determine the best treatment option for each patient.
What are the advantages of ablation treatments in kidney cancers?
Ablation treatments for kidney cancers are minimally invasive methods that help destroy tumors. A few advantages of these treatments are:
Alternative to surgery: Ablation treatments are an alternative to surgery. For some patients, performing a surgical procedure may be risky or unsuitable for other treatment options. In these cases, ablation treatments may be an effective option to destroy cancer cells.
Less invasive: Ablation treatments use minimally invasive techniques to destroy cancerous cells. This means that it is a less invasive procedure than surgical procedures. Therefore, the recovery process of patients is usually faster and the hospital stay is shorter.
Targets cancerous cells: Ablation treatments target cancerous cells and do not damage the surrounding tissues. In addition to destroying cancerous cells, this also helps maintain healthy tissues.
Repetitive procedures: Ablation treatments are not as permanent as surgical procedures. However, when cancer cells start to grow again, ablation therapy can be repeated. Therefore, for many patients, ablation therapy may not be as long-term a solution as surgery, but it is an option that can be repeated regularly.
Fewer side effects: Ablation treatments generally have fewer side effects than surgical procedures. Therefore, the recovery period of patients after treatment is usually faster and they encounter fewer complications.
However, ablation treatments have some risks and disadvantages like any treatment. Therefore, before a patient makes a decision about ablation therapy, it is recommended that they consult their doctor about the advantages and disadvantages of the treatment.
How are ablation treatments performed in kidney cancers?
Ablation treatments for kidney cancer are used to destroy cancerous cells using needles and probes. These procedures may include:
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA): This procedure uses a high-frequency electrical current to destroy cancerous cells. This current heats the cancerous cells and kills them. The procedure is usually done under local anesthesia and guidance is given to locate the tumor using an ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scan.
Microwave ablation (MWA): In this procedure, microwave energy is used to destroy cancerous cells. Microwave energy kills cancerous cells by heating them. This procedure is also usually done under local anesthesia and guidance is given to locate the tumor using an ultrasound or CT scan.
Cryoablation: In this procedure, very low temperatures are used to destroy cancerous cells. In this procedure, cancerous cells are frozen and killed. The procedure is also usually done under local anesthesia and guidance is given to locate the tumor using ultrasound or a CT scan.
These ablation treatments do not require hospitalization and you can usually be discharged the same day. The procedures usually have minimal side effects and the healing process is fast. However, there may also be some risks and complications during or after ablation therapy. That's why it's important to talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of these procedures.
In which cases can ablation treatments be the first choice in kidney cancers?
Ablation treatments for kidney cancer are often the first choice when the cancerous tumors are small and not suitable for other treatments. In particular, ablation therapy may be considered if there is a healthy kidney on the other side of the kidney or if the patient is at risk of major surgery due to other health problems. In addition, ablation therapy is usually performed under local anesthesia and is minimally invasive, resulting in a shorter hospital stay. The healing process is also fast, and post-treatment pain and discomfort is minimal. For these reasons, ablation therapy may be preferred when more invasive treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy are not suitable.
What are the risks and complications of ablation therapy in kidney cancers?
Ablation treatments for kidney cancer are generally safe and minimally invasive, but as with any medical procedure, there are risks and complications. Some possible risks and complications include:
Bleeding: Bleeding may occur during or after the ablation procedure. This condition usually occurs when blood vessels are damaged during the procedure.
Infection: There may be a risk of infection after the ablation procedure. This risk is usually low, but it is important for patients who show any signs of infection to contact their doctor immediately.
Damaged kidney: During or after the ablation procedure, it can damage healthy kidney tissue. This is a rare condition, but it can carry a risk of permanent damage.
Pain: You may feel pain after the ablation procedure. This is usually mild and temporary, but can be severe in rare cases.
Hydronephrosis: After the ablation procedure, a blockage may occur in the renal pelvis or ureter (the tube between the kidney and the bladder). This condition usually occurs the next day after the procedure and usually resolves on its own.
Recurrent cancer: Cancer may recur after the ablation procedure. This is especially likely if the tumor is large or where cancerous cells may have spread to other areas.
In addition to these risks, some patients may experience mild side effects such as fever, vomiting or nausea after the procedure. However, ablation treatments are usually minimally invasive and well tolerated by the patient. If any risk or complication is encountered, the patient should immediately consult his doctor.
Neighboring tissue, organ, vessel and nerve injuries.
It is important to note that the risks that may occur after the ablation procedure are usually mild and most of them can be treated. However, it is important to contact your doctor immediately in case of any symptoms or any side effects you are concerned about.