Kidney Cancer: Symptoms, Treatment, Is It Deadly?

Relatively rare, kidney cancer grows slowly and does not cause symptoms until an advanced stage of the disease. In the book 'Live and be reborn every day' to be published on September 29, host Patrick Sébastien reveals that he was operated on for kidney cancer.

[Updated September 22, 2022 5:39 PM] Kidney cancer is very rare, it only concerns 3% of diagnosed cancers. From symptoms alert, we note lower back pain and the presence of blood in urine . In the book 'Live and be reborn every day' to be published on September 29, the animator Patrick Sébastien reveals to have been operated for kidney cancer earlier this year 2022.' Even though it was 3 centimeters, it wasn't invasive and didn't require chemo. So I underwent an operation with eight hours of anesthesia . Rehabilitation and recovery were complicated. I still have a 40 centimeter scar ' said the 68-year-old man on the set of 'Buzz TV' of the Figaro on September 22 before adding that ' two months later, I was on stage. It's part of life '. It's the second animal cancer r who had had a melanoma few years ago. What are the signs of kidney cancer? What is the life expectancy and the chances of healing ? Is it deadly?

Definition: what is kidney cancer?

The kidney is an organ integrated into the Urinary System. Its main role is to eliminate toxins from the body through the emission of urine. He acts like a apparatus for filtering blood in the individual . Kidney cancer causes the appearance of malignant tumors (growths due to the anarchic proliferation of tissues). It is one of the rarest cancers (2 to 3% of diagnosed cancer cases). The diagnosis is made through a medical examination and the practice of a scanner abdominal .

What are the symptoms of kidney cancer?

Kidney cancer usually grows very slowly. Symptoms come late and are very varied. For example, a depression or fatigue no obvious cause can be a sign of kidney cancer. The most warning signs are:

  • macroscopic hematuria (presence of blood in the urine),
  • a lower back pain
  • and an feeling of fullness in the abdomen.

It affects twice as many men as women.

What causes kidney cancer?

“The recognized risk factors for kidney cancer are tobacco use, the overweight or the obesity and the fact of being treated by dialysis for more than three years. Other factors are suspected: this is the case of high blood pressure and exposure to cadmium or to asbestos. In rare cases, kidney cancer is due to genetic predisposition; we then speak of a hereditary form or a family form of kidney cancer', says Dr. Jean-Philippe Wagner, oncologist.

What is the average age of kidney cancer?

According to the National Cancer Institute ( Yet ), the number of new cases of kidney cancer in 2018 in France is estimated at 10,000. The median age at diagnosis was 68 for men and 67 for women . He touches twice as many men as women.

How do you know if you have kidney cancer?

Kidney cancer is often discovered incidentally, during an examination carried out as part of the monitoring of another pathology. The doctor will perform a questioning the patient to determine its history, assess risk factors and associated symptoms. If symptoms suggestive of kidney cancer, a scanner of the abdomen will be prescribed to confirm the diagnosis, assess the size of the cancer and its extension in the abdomen. If a tumor is detected, a biopsy will be carried out (sampling of the tumor during a scanner or a ultrasound ) in order to analyze it under the microscope. This examination also makes it possible to specify the type of tumor and its ability to evolve.

What are the stages of kidney cancer?

Staging measures the extent of the cancer and its evolution. “As with all cancers, it goes from stage I, strictly localized inside the kidney, at stage IV (presence of metastases outside the kidney, i.e. generalized cancer)', explains the oncologist.

What are the treatments for kidney cancer?

Until stage III of the disease, kidney cancer is treated with surgery . After the operation, adjuvant therapy, that is, treatment to prevent relapse, is not indicated. 'Clear cell carcinoma, which is the most common kidney cancer, is one of the most sensitive cancers to immunotherapy which becomes the reference in the first line' , remarks the specialist. The principle ? ' 'Boost' the lymphocytes (white blood cells) with antibodies that will again kill cancer cells. But it is also the most sensitive cancer to biotherapy (targeted therapy) and many oral drugs in this category are effective against this cancer: they 'starve' the cancer by preventing new vessels from feeding the cancer (antiangiogenesis).'

What is the life expectancy with kidney cancer?

As with all cancers, life expectancy depends on the stage of the disease at the time of its discovery. 'Kidney cancer makes part of the category of 'intermediate prognosis' cancers and even at generalized stage IV, the disease is often at slow evolution, indolent. Them 5-year survival rates therefore vary from 90% for stage I to 50% for stages III and 10% for stages IV with a probable improvement for the latter due to the generalization of the use of immunotherapy', details the oncologist.

Kidney cancer can be cured as long as it is 'caught in time.'

Is kidney cancer curable?

Whatever the cancer, it can be cured from the moment it is 'taken in time.' At stage IV, the cure rate is almost 0%; but thanks to immunotherapy, we see more and more long survivors, that is to say, by definition, patients who live at least 2.5 longer than the median survival (survival time of 50 % of patients at this stage). 'All the teams have now more and more patients who live more than 5 years on treatment and we can start to think that, maybe some are healed , continues Dr. Jean-Philippe Wagner. In addition to the general treatment for so-called stage IV oligometastatic (with few metastases), it is now proven to be the association between systemic treatment and physical treatment of each metastasis, in particular by stereotaxic radiotherapy, which contributes to the increase in the number of long survivors. Finally, it is true that metastatic kidney cancer is one of the very rare cancers for which there are spontaneous cures . The estimate of these spontaneous cures is 1 % to 1/1000 cases.'

Thanks to Dr Jean-Philippe Wagner, oncologist.

Sources : Kidney cancer, some figures , National Cancer Institute