Kidney cancer is a type of cancer that causes cells in the kidneys to develop abnormally and multiply uncontrollably, causing tumor formations.
The kidneys are located posteriorly in the lower rib cage. These bean-shaped organs filter the blood to remove impurities and waste, which they send to the bladder as urine.
The most common form of kidney cancer in adults is renal cell carcinoma, involving about 90% of all adult kidney cancers. Renal cell carcinoma forms in the small tubes, or tubules, of the kidneys, and shows no symptoms until a tumor grows large enough to cause problems with surrounding tissue and organs.
Other forms of kidney cancer include Wilms tumor, the most common type of kidney cancer in children, and transitional cell carcinoma that starts in the lining of the renal pelvis.
Kidney Cancer Malpractice Lawyers In Maryland
If you have been harmed by a doctor's negligence in diagnosing or treating kidney cancer, call our offices today for a free consultation.
Kidney Cancer Facts and Statistics
- In 2015, there will be an estimated 61,560 new cases of kidney cancer, 38,270 in men and 23, 290 in women
- There will be an estimated 14,080 deaths from kidney cancer in 2015, 9,070 in men and 5,010 in women.
- Kidney cancer is one of the 10 most common cancers in both men and women.
- The average five-year survival rate of kidney cancer is about 72%.
- Over half of all kidney cancers are diagnosed before the cancer spreads or metastasizes to other parts of the body.
- The average age of diagnosis for kidney cancer is 64.
- About 5% of all kidney cancers are Wilms tumor. This type of cancer is most commonly found in children.
- About 6% of all kidney cancers are transitional cell carcinoma.
Symptoms and Risk Factors
Kidney cancer has very few symptoms, and will often show no symptoms at all. In order to know when diagnostic tests are needed, doctors need to know the risk factors associated with this disease. Risk factors include:
- Being over 40 years old, and being male
- Smoking tobacco
- Obesity or being overweight
- Having genetic conditions like Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Having a personal or family medical history of kidney cancer or other kidney inflammation problems
Not all forms of kidney cancer will show symptoms. Often, the disease is caught during medical treatment for other kidney problems. Still, doctors should know the symptoms of kidney cancer particularly because symptoms often appear when the disease has advanced. Symptoms include:
- Blood in urine—this may not always be noticeable without a laboratory test
- A persistent pain in the lower back on one side of the body
- Fatigue, weight loss, and loss of appetite
- Persistent fever not caused by infection
Diagnosing Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancer is often not detected until advanced stages because the disease is frequently not symptomatic. Often, kidney cancer is diagnosed during medical treatment for other problems like gallstones. When imaging studies are done for these other medical problems, kidney masses or tumors may also be identified.
If a patient is at high risk for kidney cancer, doctors may also use urinalysis to determine if there is any microscopic blood in the urine. While blood in urine is a sign associated with many medical problems, it is an indication for further diagnostic testing.
The most common diagnostic tests for kidney cancer is an imaging scan like a CT, MRI, PET, or ultrasound. These imaging studies can help determine the presence of abnormal kidney masses or tumors.
Kidney Cancer Treatment
The standard treatment for kidney cancer is surgery to remove the tumors, or to remove the kidney entirely. People can be healthy with just one kidney, as it can adapt to filter the same amount of waste from the blood.
Kidney cancer is typically unresponsive to radiation and chemotherapy. These therapies can also cause further damage to the kidneys. As such, doctors will often use other treatment modalities, including the use of drugs to slow, shrink, or stop the growth of new cancer cells or to stop blood flow to the tumor. Doctors may also use immunotherapy to help the body's own immune system fight the cancer cells.
Lawsuits For Kidney Cancer Malpractice In Maryland
Kidney cancer has high survival rates if timely diagnosed. Unfortunately, diagnostic errors can delay treatment and can lead to fatal results. If doctors fail to order the proper diagnostic tests, fail to correctly interpret the results of the tests, or fail to communicate test results to the patient or other medical providers, they may be liable for malpractice.
If your kidney cancer was mishandled by a health care provider, call our offices today for a free consultation. The attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian can help you understand your legal rights. You may be entitled to compensation. We are confident in our ability to help you, and will not charge attorney fees until we get the results you deserve.