Abdominal ultrasonography should be performed after the age of 40 to prevent kidney cancer.

Kidney cancer is one of the top ten most common cancers. It is a cancer with frequent recurrence and low effectiveness of radiation or chemotherapy. June 18th is World Kidney Cancer Day.

Because the kidneys are isolated behind the peritoneum, there are often no symptoms until the cancer is quite advanced. However, kidney cancer symptoms may also appear. Side pain, bloody urine, and palpable lumps in the stomach.

These symptoms only appear in patients with very severe kidney cancer. Early kidney cancer often causes no symptoms. Early detection of kidney cancer is mostly done through medical examinations, and it is rare that symptoms appear and be confirmed at a hospital.

◇Can be diagnosed by abdominal ultrasonography

Kidney cancer does not respond well to radiation and chemotherapy. Contrary to what is known as a ‘good cancer’, if it is detected in the 4th stage, the prognosis is very poor, with up to 20% of the time even after various treatments and an average survival of 2-3 years. For this reason, early diagnosis of kidney cancer, like other cancers, is very important.

Seo Joon-kyo, professor of urology at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, said, “Kidney cancer has a very different prognosis, cure and survival rate depending on the stage. said

Abdominal ultrasonography is the best method for early diagnosis of kidney cancer. In fact, the rate of early diagnosis of kidney cancer has risen significantly as health screening programs and abdominal ultrasound examinations have become more common.

If abnormal lumps are observed through ultrasound examination, computed tomography (CT) will accurately evaluate the size, location, number, relationship with surrounding organs, and metastasis of the lumps suspected of kidney cancer.

Fine-needle aspiration biopsy, which is a tissue obtained by aspiration of a part of the body with a needle, and performs microscopic examination, is rarely performed. Because kidney cancer is a non-homogeneous mass inside, it is difficult to obtain a sufficient and accurate tissue when performing a biopsy.

Choi Se-young, a professor of urology at Chung-Ang University Hospital, said, “In order to diagnose kidney cancer at an early stage, imaging methods such as abdominal ultrasound should be actively performed during health check-ups after the age of 40, and regular check-ups should be performed if there is an existing disease such as long-term hemodialysis or a family history.”

◇Smoking, controlling blood pressure, and avoiding high-calorie foods

Prevention is more important than early diagnosis. If you follow a few lifestyle rules, you can get the effect of preventing kidney cancer. Lifestyle tips to prevent kidney cancer recommended by experts are smoking cessation, controlling blood pressure, and avoiding high-calorie foods.

One of the most common risk factors for kidney cancer is smoking. A history of smoking increases the risk 1.5 to 2.5 times. In particular, male smokers who smoke more than one pack a day are twice as high, and female smokers are 1.5 times more likely.

Among kidney cancer patients, it is estimated that 20-30% of men and 10-20% of women are due to smoking. There is also a report that the risk decreases by 15 to 30% after 10 to 15 years of quitting smoking.

It is also estimated that 10-20% of kidney cancers are caused by high blood pressure. Cancer occurs when pathological changes occur in the glomeruli that have been exposed to high blood pressure for a long time. Lowering blood pressure also reduces the risk of kidney cancer.

The relationship between excessive intake of certain nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) and kidney cancer is uncertain. However, high-calorie food intake and obesity increase the risk of kidney cancer. On the other hand, fruits, vegetables, and low-calorie diets lower the risk.

Professor Seo Jun-kyo said, “To prevent kidney cancer, smoking cessation is important, avoiding high-calorie foods and eating a balanced diet.”

Professor Seo said, “Kidney cancer does not show any clear symptoms, so it is most important to have regular abdominal ultrasound examinations to detect and treat early.”

Kwon Dae-ik medical journalist




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