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Kidney Cancer

Ablation therapy

A type of minimally-invasive procedure to remove abnormal tissue. The doctor destroys the abnormal tissue using heat (radiofrequency ablation) or extreme cold (cryoablation).

Active treatment

Procedures to remove a kidney or ureteral stone.

Adrenal gland

The adrenal glands are organs that sit at the top of the kidneys. They are responsible for releasing hormones.

Adrenalectomy

The surgical procedure in which the adrenal gland is removed.

Anaemia

A lowered level of red blood cells. It is the most common disorder of the blood. It causes fatigue, weakness and poor concentration, among others.

Anaesthesia (general, spinal, or local)

Before a procedure you will get medication to make sure that you don’t feel pain. Under general anaesthesia you are unconscious and unaware of what is happening to you. Under spinal or local anaesthesia you will not feel pain in the part of your body where the procedure is done. Anaesthesia wears off gradually after the procedure.

Asymptomatic

Any condition which does not cause symptoms and is discovered incidentally.

Benign enlargement

Cell growth in the body which is not cancerous.

Biopsy

A medical procedure in which a small piece of tissue is removed from the body to examine it. This is done to get information for diagnosing, monitoring, and treatment.

Chemotherapy

Is a treatment of cancer with drugs that are toxic to cells. Some are specifically toxic to cells that grow faster than normal, like cancer cells.

Clear cell renal cell carcinoma

A type of kidney tumour with a high content of fat.

Clinical trial

These are experimental research studies designed to answer specific questions about treatments or drugs. They generally test how well a treatment works among patients with specific characteristics.

Contrast agent

A substance that increases the contrast of structures or fluids in the body. It is used in medical imaging (See also Imaging).

Cryotherapy

Is the use of low temperatures in medical therapy, to treat either benign or malignant cell growth.

Cytoreductive nephrectomy

Cytoreductive means reducing the number of tumour cells. This surgery is specific for metastatic kidney cancer. In this surgical procedure a tumour in the kidney is removed, while leaving distant metastases. The aim of the surgery is to reduce the total tumour cells in the body.

Diagnosis

The doctor and nurses do a series of tests to understand what causes your symptoms.

Embolization

A non-surgical, minimally-invasive procedure in which a blood vessel is blocked to prevent the blood flow from reaching a tumour.

Enzyme

Large biological molecules that are responsible for the processes of the metabolism.

Fatigue

This means you feel more tired than usual, you are out of energy, and it doesn’t get better after you sleep. You may also experience pain in your joints, muscles, and chest.

Fatty tissue

A type of connective tissue made of cells which store fat. Also called adipose tissue.

Fuhrman nuclear grade

Analysing the aggressiveness of a tumour based on the structure of its cells.

Hand-foot syndrome

A side effect of some types of drug therapy for cancer. It causes redness, swelling and pain on the palms of the hands and/or the soles of the feet, and in some cases blisters.

Histopathological analysis

The examination of tissue under a microscope, to study the presence and characteristics of diseases such as cancer.

Imaging

Taking images of the body with ultrasound, x-ray or other scanning techniques.

Immunotherapy

A type of cancer treatment which boosts the immune system to fight tumour cells.

JJ-stent

A tube that is temporarily placed in the ureter to make sure urine can flow from the kidney to the bladder.

Kidneys

Two bean-shaped organs in the back of the abdomen that filter the blood and produce urine.

Laparoscopic surgery

A minimally-invasive surgical technique in which the surgeon does not need to cut through skin and tissue. Instead, the surgeon inserts the surgical instruments through small incisions in your abdomen.

Localized kidney cancer

A kidney cancer where the tumour is limited to the kidney and has not spread.

Locally-advanced kidney cancer

A cancer where the tumour has grown out of the kidneys into surrounding tissue and invaded veins, the adrenal gland, or lymph nodes.

Lymph nodes

Small oval-shaped organs that play a role in regulating how the immune system responds.

Lymphadenectomy

The surgical procedure in which the lymph nodes are removed because they are enlarged due to the presence of a tumour.

Malignant tumour

A cancerous growth which either grows continuously or in spurts. Malignant tumours can metastasize, which means they spread throughout the body.

Metastasectomy

The surgical procedure to remove metastases. These are tumours that have spread to other organs of the body.

Metastatic disease

When a tumour has spread to other organs or lymph nodes.

Minimally-invasive surgery

A surgical procedure where there is no need to cut through skin and tissue. Small incisions are made in the abdomen to insert the surgical instruments.

MRI scan

Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a technique in which strong magnetic fields and radio waves are used to make images of the body.

Multidisciplinary

A combination of different branches of expertise. In medicine, it means that for instance urologists, oncologists, psychologists or other medical specialists work together.

Neoangiogenesis

The process through which new blood vessels form from pre-existing vessels. In cancer this process allows tumours to grow.

Nephron-sparing surgery

Another name for partial nephrectomy, the surgical removal of a kidney tumour together with some of the normal kidney tissue. This surgery aims at preserving as much of the kidney tissue as possible.

Oncologist

A medical professional who is dedicated to the diagnosis, therapy, follow-up and general care of a person with any type of cancer.

Open surgery

A surgical procedure in which the surgeon cuts skin and tissues to have direct access to the structures or organs.

Palliative care

A concept of care with the goal to optimize your quality of life if you cannot recover from your illness. It involves physical, psychological, social, and spiritual issues.

Paraesthesia

A prickling (“pins and needles”) or tingling (“falling asleep”) sensation of the skin.

Paraneoplastic syndromes

Reactions that the body can have to any type of cancer and may include high blood pressure, weight loss, fever, anaemia, muscle mass loss, and loss of appetite.

Partial nephrectomy

A surgical procedure in which a part of the kidney is removed.

Pathologist

A medical professional who studies tissue, blood, or urine to understand the specific characteristics of diseases. In cancer treatment, the pathologist helps with the diagnosis and classification of tumours.

Perinephric haematoma

A collection of blood next to or around the kidney.

Perirenal fat

The fat that surrounds the kidney.

Petechia

Lots of tiny red spots or bruises on your arms and legs, caused by a minor haemorrhage in the blood vessels of the skin.

Primary tumour

The malignant cell growth located where the tumour first began to develop.

Prognosis

The medical term for predicting the likely outcome of health after treatment.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA)

A protein produced by the prostate which may increase in men with a benign prostatic enlargement, prostatic inflammation, or prostate cancer.

Radiation therapy

A type of cancer treatment that uses radiation to control or kill malignant cells.

Radical nephrectomy

A surgical procedure in which the entire kidney is removed.

Radiofrequency ablation

A medical procedure which uses the heat generated from high-frequency currents to treat kidney tumours.

Radiologist

A medical professional who specialises in imaging techniques. In cancer, the radiologist analyses x-ray, ultrasound, CT, MRI, or other scans to diagnose or monitor the tumour.

Recurrence

The return of cancer after treatment and after a period of time in which the cancer could not be detected. This can happen either in the place where the cancer first was detected, or somewhere else in the body. There is no standard period of time, but most doctors would consider it a recurrence if the cancer had not been detected again for at least one year.

Renal

Related to the kidneys.

Renal artery

The artery that carries a large portion of the blood flow that needs to be filtered to the kidneys.

Renal artery clamp

An instrument used during surgery. The blood flow through the renal artery is blocked with a device called a clamp that compresses the artery.

Renal cell carcinoma

Medical name of kidney cancer.

Renal cyst

Fluid-filled sacs located on the kidney. Cysts can be malignant.

Renal fascia

Also called Gerota’s fascia, it is a layer of connective tissue that surrounds the kidneys.

Renal vein

This is the vein that carries the blood filtered by the kidney back into the body.

Surgical robot system

An instrument to help doctors perform laparoscopic surgery. The surgeon controls the robotic instrument with remote control sensors.

Targeted therapy

These are drugs that target the mechanisms that cancer cells use to grow.

Thyroid

A gland found in the neck which controls how quickly the body uses energy, makes proteins and how sensitive it is to other hormones.

TNM classification

The Tumour Node Metastasis (TNM) classification is an international classification used to classify tumours according to the size and invasiveness of the tumour (T), whether any lymph nodes are affected (N) and if the cancer has spread to any other parts of your body (M).

Treatment pathway

One of the main management tools for doctors. The different tasks or interventions are defined, optimized and set in a specific order. With this the medical team can work on the health of a patient together.

Tumour spillage

When tumour cells reach the blood or another organ during surgery. These cells may grow in a different location and develop into tumours.

Tumour stage

This refers to how extended a cancer is in the body. It is usually based on the size of the tumour and whether the tumour has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs.

Ultrasound

Imaging technique that uses high-frequency sounds to make an image of the inside of the body.

Ureter

One of the two tubes through which urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder.

Urologist

A doctor specialized in health and diseases of the urinary tract and the genitals.

Vena Cava

The large vein that returns blood with low oxygen from the body into the heart.

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