A medical technique adopted for heart patients is now prolonging the lives of kidney cancer patients as well.
Patients who had cancer that had spread in major part of the organ were either refused operation or the caner was not actually removed from the kidney even after opening up the body for fear of early death. But thanks to this procedure, such patients can live longer.
“The issue in kidney cancer operations was excessive blood loss that compelled the surgeons to not operate,” said Prof Vishwajeet Singh, senior faculty, King George’s Medical University. Singh has adopted the method and is operating on even high risk patients. He said so far, the method was in the books but not in use.
“The method is simple. We block the blood supply to the organ as in such operations it is the excessive blood loss that causes death on operating table. When blood supply is blocked, the colour of the organ changes and hence it is easy to remove the affected part along with the tumour,” he said.
At present, two patients operated upon with the help of the technique are admitted to the department of urology at the KGMU and doctors say they will be discharged soon.
WHAT IS DONE
Patients of renal tumour are first called for a minor procedure ‘renal artery embolization’ which is done in a manner similar to angiography. The only difference is that in angiography, the aim is to open the blocked artery and here the artery is blocked completely. This stops the blood supply.
This procedure is done a day or two before the major operation so that blood supply stops completely hence the colour of the organ changes. When doctors are sure the blood will no longer flow into the organ and there is no risk of blood loss during surgery, they remove the tumour. Such a surgery is safer.
“Operating in this manner not only ensures safe surgery but also that the patient’s life is extended, which would have been up to six months otherwise,” said Dr Rahul Janak Singh, another surgeon in the department who has adopted the technique.
“We prescribe medicines after the operation. We hope drug development in the coming years is able to extend the life of such patients further,” said Prof Vishwajeet.