24 August 2012
The new Kidney Cancer Monthly Lottery has helped to raise the issue of the life-threatening disease to a nationwide audience.
Set up by the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer organisation, the scheme aims to make members of the public big-money winners while also helping individuals who are battling kidney cancer.
This is because the Kidney Cancer Monthly Lottery is designed to assist the funding of the Patient Benefit Grant.
It is important to note that while the grants do not cover medications of treatment programmes, they do help a person to ease their hardship when they have to pay for fuel, travel, care or retraining during their rehabilitation.
People who enter into the draw will need to pay £4.50 per ticket per month, with one winning number drawn on the last Friday of every month. The winning ticketholder will then receive a cash prize in proportion to the number of entries for that draw.
This sum is split between 40 per cent as a cash prize and 60 per cent being given to the Patient Support Grants programme.
James Whale, the founder and chairman of the James Whale Fund and a kidney cancer survivor himself, commented: "We hope that many kidney cancer patients will directly benefit from this new initiative of the fund and look forward to our lottery launch being well supported.
"The aim of the lottery is to have the chance to give something back to those that are generous enough to donate."
For people still unaware of the symptoms, effects and treatment options of kidney cancer though, here is a guide into the life-threatening disease.
Defining kidney cancer
There are several forms of kidney cancer which human beings can suffer from, with transitional cell cancers affecting the ureters, renal pelvis and the bladder, and Wilms' tumour cancer only developing in children.
However, the most common form of kidney cancer is renal cell cancer, which is caused from a cell in a kidney tubule becoming cancerous.
When the kidney concerned develops this tumour, the organ tends to become larger and there is also a risk that the cancerous cells may grow beyond a kidney's wall and invade nearby organs and tissues.
As a whole, Cancer Research UK statistics reveal that kidney cancer is the sixth most common cancer diagnosed in men across the UK, as well as the ninth most common in women.
Symptoms to look out for in kidney cancer development
One of the best ways to prevent kidney cancer from developing to a dangerous degree is to recognise the symptoms and seek medical attention immediately if concerned.
The most important symptoms to be aware of is identifying blood in the urine and finding a lump or swelling around the area of the body where the kidneys are located.
Identifying these two points does not mean that a person has the disease, but it is best to get checked over by a doctor to find the best course of treatment.
There are more vague symptoms of kidney cancer. This includes if someone is suffering from regular bouts of tiredness, have constant losses of appetite and has a pain in their side which does not seem to ease over time.
Ways to reduce the risk of kidney cancer
Various studies over the years have identified different reasons that put someone at an increased risk of suffering kidney cancer.
Some of these are related to lifestyle choices. For example, a person who is extremely overweight is generally more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than someone of a normal weight for their height.
Smoking has also been found to increase the risk of kidney cancer, while concerns have been raised regarding the diseases' development in those who consume a diet low in fruit and vegetable intake and those who drink high levels of alcohol.
However, it is not just all about lifestyle choices. Further research into the causes of kidney cancer has pinpointed kidney disease, faulty genes and conditions inherited through a family tree as being triggers for the development of the disease as well.
Treatment options for kidney cancer
There are various treatments available for those who have been diagnosed with cancer, but these of course depend on how far the disease has progressed.
In early-stage kidney cancer, for example, surgery is the usual choice opted for by medical professionals, with the disease being cured entirely in the majority of cases.
When the cancer reaches an advanced stage though, there are still treatment options available but these generally help improve symptoms and quality of life instead of entirely curing someone of the disease.
As such, it is paramount that people get checked over by a medical professional as soon as they feel that something is not right around their kidneys.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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