Friday, October 3, 2008

Saving Organs, Saving Lives


Reported October 3, 2008

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- When a patient is treated for kidney cancer, surgeons remove the affected kidney as part of treatment. However, new research suggests kidney-sparing surgery may be a better option.

Researchers observed nearly 1,500 kidney cancer patients to reach their conclusion. They found retaining as much kidney tissue as possible not only benefits survivors long-term, but also increases their chances of overall survival. Patients who had severely impaired kidney function were almost three times more likely to die compared to patients with normal kidney function. Patients whose kidneys were completely removed were almost 12 times more likely to develop significantly impaired function in the remaining kidney than patients whose organs were only partially removed.

Impaired function can be caused or compounded by diabetes, hypertension and vascular disease, and can even be related to the cancer itself. Even without a cancer diagnosis, impaired kidney function is incredibly dangerous and can increase the risk of death and hospitalization.

“In patients who have the combination of kidney cancer and lowered kidney function, doctors should consider tissue-sparing surgery versus complete removal whenever it is technically feasible,” Joseph Pettus, M.D., lead author and an assistant professor of urology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, was quoted as saying. “Currently, this option is significantly underused.”

Since 1983, death rates due to kidney cancer increased 323 percent. Researchers say it’s a trend that could be linked to rising rates of obesity and related diseases that contribute to impaired kidney function.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic Proceedings