You May Keep Your Kidney
Surgery has historically been a key component of treatment for advanced kidney cancer. The affected kidney would usually be removed in a procedure called a nephrectomy before a person started on systemic therapies like interferon and interleukin 2. But as newer systemic treatments have become available, doctors are reconsidering.
In 2018, one study showed a survival benefit for people treated for advanced kidney cancer who did not have surgery before systemic treatment. The CARMENA trial compared those who had targeted therapy after nephrectomy with those who had targeted therapy only. Median survival time was 18.4 months for targeted therapy, while those who had surgery first survived a median of 13.9 months.
The standard approach for advanced kidney cancer is evolving. “Surgery may be avoided in some patients,” says Adil Akhtar, MD, director of inpatient clinical services at the Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Oakland in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Cannabis for Kidney Cancer
No doubt you’ve heard that some people with cancer smoke, eat, or take pills for cancer treatment side effects and symptoms like nausea, loss of appetite, sleep issues, and pain. The National Cancer Institute offers a consumer-friendly page of history and research on all forms of cannabis for cancer. Curious? Check it out at cancer.gov.
Does Left or Right Matter in Kidney Cancer?
People with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in the left kidney tend to get diagnosed in later stages and have worse outcomes than people with right-side kidney cancer, according to results presented at the 2019 meeting of the American Urological Association. Researchers analyzed data from the U.S. Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program database and the German Centre for Cancer Registry Data. The findings showed a 16 to 19 percent increase in mortality risk for people with left-side kidney cancer. The reason for the difference isn’t clear, but researchers think anatomical variations between the kidneys may contribute to the disparity.