A silent killer is taking over the Capital. And no, it’s not the summer heat. Delhi tops the chart of the recent National Cancer Registry in kidney cancer.
What used to strike the elderly has started catching the young in the Capital.
Tumours of the kidney, which generally found in people over 60, are being found in patients as young as seven. In the recently released cancer registry, the age adjusted incidence rate has shown that young Delhi males are suffering the most from kidney cancers.
‘In Delhi the incidence is the highest at 2.5 per cent, next comes Mumbai at. 2.3 per cent while Bangalore stands third with 1.8 per cent males hit by the deadly disease,’ Dr P.K. Jhulka, professor of radiation oncology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said, adding that its incidence in women was low.
A route to death: About a third of all kidney cancers are thought to be caused by smoking
In a recent incident, doctors at Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital have treated a seven-year-old boy for a tumour in the kidney.
‘We are getting younger patients for tumours in the kidney. We receive at least three to four tumour cases in a month. These cases used to be between the ages of 50 and 90 earlier but the age is decreasing day by day. Patients in the thirties are becoming common nowadays,’ Dr Rajeev Sood, consultant and head of RML’s department of urology, said.
‘Kidney cancer incidence in India is 0.9 per cent and mortality is 0.6 per cent,’ he added. One of the common early symptoms of the disease is blood in the urine.
‘Over the past five years, the incidence of kidney cancer has grown significantly. While it affects the elderly, we are getting an increasing number of young patients. Usually, the younger patients are diagnosed with smaller tumours which are a good sign as they are easily treatable,’ Dr Sudip Raina, director of the cancer centre at Sarvodaya Hospitals, said.
About a third of all kidney cancers are thought to be caused by smoking.
Some of the chemicals from tobacco get into the body and are passed out in urine. These chemicals in the urine can be carcinogenic to kidney tubule cells.
Even some workplace chemicals such as asbestos, cadmium and some organic solvents have also been linked to an increased risk of kidney cancer. Obesity too is an established risk factor for kidney cancer.
‘Even people with hypertension and on long-term dialysis have an increased risk,’ Dr Raina added.
‘Excess body weight has been established as a risk factor for kidney cancer in several casecontrol and cohort studies, hypertension and use of antihypertensive medications, diabetes, Urinary tract infection, nutritional factors and diet are also responsible for the disease,’ Dr Sood said.
‘Cancer cases in young are increasing day by day. We are witnessing an increased number of such cases in our hospital and most of the cases come in a metastatic (terminal) condition which becomes incurable due to spread of the tumour,’ Dr Munish Gairola, radiation oncologist and director of shanty Munkund cancer hospital, said.
‘Earlier, smoking was known to cause cancer of lung and neck but it can now be correlated with kidney cancers too. One should be vigilant for symptoms such as pain in the urinary tract and blood in urine,’ he added.
A 2010 study done by Dr N.P. Gupta, Dr R. Ishwar, Dr A. Kumar, Dr P.N. Dogra and Dr A. Seth of the Department of Urology at AIIMS tracked the changing trends in kidney cancer. The study showed how young patients are being diagnosed with renal cancer.
‘The renal cancers are being diagnosed earlier thanks to better diagnostic techniques such as ultrasound and CT scans. The major reasons for increasing renal cancers in young patients are lifestyle and bad dietary modifications in the current generation.
‘Cigarette smoking is emerging as one of the most common reasons for kidney tumours nowadays,’ Dr Sandeep Guleria, senior consultant, kidney transplantation, Apollo Hospitals, said.