Kidney cancer: Q&A with Dr Todorovic | 26 June 2020
In supporting worldwide efforts to educate and inform people about kidney cancer, Seychelles NATION spoke to Dr Miodrag Todorovic at Panafricare Clinic, to learn more about this rather ‘forgotten disease’.
Following is the interview with Dr Todorovic.
Seychelles NATION:What are the kidneys and their main function?
Dr Todorovic: Kidneys are vital organs and life is theoretically impossible without their function. People are usually born with two kidneys and in rare conditions, some people may have only one kidney at birth or double kidneys on one side etc; variations are possible but they always function well while healthy.
The main function of the kidney is depuration of the body by filtering water and products of metabolism from our blood. All chemical waste after degradation of food, medicines and salts go out with water through the kidneys; the product of which is known to all of us as urine.
With this filtration, the kidneys maintain a stable chemical environment of our blood, protecting the body from being too acid, or too alkaline.
Seychelles NATION: What is the situation locally in terms of kidney cancer?
Dr Todorovic: Kidney cancer is not as common as some other cancers in our country. Yet it is sporadically apparent and I used to see one or two cases for treatment every two or three years.
Incidence in developed countries is much higher and has shown a tendency to increase over the last twenty years, coming to 10-20 cases per year in 100,000 people.
In the Seychelles, statistics is as everywhere else and mostly in males, but far less frequent than prostate cancer.
Seychelles NATION: What are the risk factors for developing kidney cancer?
Dr Todorovic: Risk factors are mostly related to genetic predisposition, smoking, obesity, male gender and exposure to some toxic or chemical products. It is still hard with actual knowledge to point out a single cause. All cancers are multifactorial but genetic factors play a major role.
Seychelles NATION: This year's theme for World Kidney Cancer Day was ‘We need to talk about physical activity’ as it is said that 3 out of 4 kidney cancer patients are not doing enough physical activity. What are your thoughts on this?
Dr Todorovic: Every patient with an active cancer history has a particular psychophysical condition. During the disease, the body suffers but the mind is affected too and in an acute phase of every cancer, the patient needs a holistic approach. It is too simple to consider only one factor such as physical activity to be “not enough”. Good evaluation of the patient's psychological, spiritual and social approach is sometimes lacking compared to physical activity.
However, as long as it is physically possible for the patient, engaging in physical activities after treatment contributes a lot to preserving the health of the mind and body.
In the case where only one kidney is affected and removed as part of treatment, the other kidney takes over the function for the whole body and the patient may return more or less to daily activities and a normal life.
Seychelles NATION: What advice would you like to share to members of the public for minimising the risk of developing kidney cancer?
Dr Todorovic: Stop smoking, avoid getting/being obese, maintain a healthy body mass index and drive yourself accordingly to prevent repetition of family medical history.
The utmost importance is to be given to regular medical checkups once a year, including urine test and ultrasound scan of the kidneys and prostate. If this is done, every adult man can have any signs of kidney cancer or prostate cancer detected early enough which will help to make a successful recovery. Discovered on time in an early stage, kidney cancer has a much better prognosis than many other cancers, with 5 years survival for more than 75% of patients.
On the other hand, kidney cancer in an advanced stage is extremely difficult to treat as it does not respond to many known treatments. This is why preventive checkups for early detection are the best advice we can give. We have a special package at Panafricare Clinic for kidney, bladder and prostate screening. For any information and booking, call 4321 310.