What is nephrectomy, the operation that can save a person from kidney cancer

Through a post on Instagram, Paola Perego shared the news of her hospitalization and the major surgery she underwent. The TV presenter, husband of Lucio Presta, courageously faced one partial nephrectomy to remove a neoplasm, i.e. a tumor.

“I thank Professor Gallucci and his team” he wrote on Instagram accompanying the photo of a hospital bed. “Today he subjected me to a partial nephrectomy for a neoplasm”, then the presenter launched an invitation that must be taken up by her followers and not only: “It is important to always do prevention, it can save your life”.

Kidney cancer, symptoms and treatments

Partial nephrectomy surgery is designed to remove only the tumor cells of the kidney, while ensuring that a safety margin of healthy tissue is maintained and the rest of the renal parenchyma is preserved. This surgical procedure, which lasts about two hours, usually allows for a rapid recovery. Typically, you are expected to return to normal within a month or a month and a half. The incision is usually made near the ribs.

The symptoms of the disease are mainly three: the first is thehematuria, i.e. the presence of blood in the urine, often the first sign of the disease. This symptom can appear suddenly, disappear spontaneously and then recur again. The second is a dull pain in the side or colic-like spasms, caused by the presence of blood clots along the urinary tract, which involves the renal pelvis and ureter. Finally, the presence of a palpable mass in the abdominal cavity at the flank level, indicative of possible tumor development. These symptoms can vary and their manifestation depends on the specificity of the individual situation.

Approximately 70% of patients manage to survive for at least 5 years after diagnosis, however, currently, still a third of cases (30%) are detected in an advanced stage. If the tumor mass is very small, healing can be achieved through surgery.

Who risks more

Overweight is estimated to be associated with Approximately 25% of new cases of renal cell carcinoma in Europe, with a higher incidence in women. Tobacco, on the other hand, is responsible for around 40% of cases, especially in men. The risk of developing the disease is directly proportional to the number of cigarettes smoked daily and the overall period of exposure to smoking.

There are groups of individuals considered at high risk and who require particular surveillance. For example, first-degree relatives of kidney cancer patients may be four times more likely to get the same form of cancer than the general population. Prolonged exposure to petroleum products, torotrast or zinc may increase the risk. Arterial hypertension, a widespread disease that affects over 15 million Italians, increases the chances of developing kidney cancer by 60%.

About 4% of cases may have a hereditary basis linked to von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, transmitted by the VHL gene. Additionally, those who suffer from polycystic kidney disease and have been on dialysis for a prolonged period are at increased risk of developing kidney cancer.