The Basics About Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer is one of the types of cancers that are not very common. It only compromises about 2% of the types of cancers being diagnosed yearly. There are several types of cancer that are known to affect the kidneys. The most frequently occurring type of kidney cancer is a form of renal cell carcinoma, known as renal adenocarcinoma or renal hypernephroma. It’s believed to compromise 9 out of 10 kidney cancer cases. Other types of kidney cancer are the transitional cell carcinoma, renal sarcoma and Wilms tumor. Wilms’ tumor can be common on children with kidney cancer. And like most cancers, when kidney cancer becomes malignant, it metastasizes into the nearby lymph nodes and to other areas of the body.The exact risk factors that predispose an individual to kidney cancer is not totally known. However, several factors are being considered. One is smoking. Smoking is thought to increase the risk of acquiring cancer because of its toxic byproducts like tar and nicotine. Obesity is another factor being looked upon because it may cause an increase in the blood pressure of the individual. This increase will result to kidney damage since they kidneys are the ones that directly filter the waste products on the blood. Genetics can also be a factor and so as exposure to carcinogens. Persons with Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) Syndrome can also increase the risk for kidney cancer. VHL is a type of genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on different areas of the body. Whether a smoker is at risk for developing kidney cancer or not, it is important that he or she should quit smoking because smoking is associated with so many diseases. And the same goes for obesity, that is why maintaining a healthy weight is very important.There are no definite signs and symptoms for cancer of the kidneys, and unfortunately, most cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed in the later stages of the disease. There are times when they can also be discovered early, but mostly in an accidental basis. The common signs and symptoms that may occur are flank or back pain, blood in the urine and an abdominal mass. But since these are common signs and symptoms of other diseases, diagnosis is still very difficult.The diagnostic tools used for cancer of the kidneys is similar to those being used with other cancers. X-rays, ultrasound imaging, computerized tomography scans and magnetic resonance imaging are some of the tools that are used to look for the cancer. An intravenous pyelogram is also sometimes used as a diagnostic tool. Blood tests and urine exams can also be used to augment the diagnostic tools. Fine needle aspiration biopsy is done after the preliminary diagnostics are done. This will yield results that can determine if the cancer is truly present or not.And like most cancers, cancer of the kidneys can be diagnosed in 4 stages. Stage I is the earliest stage of the cancer. The tumor’s size is only about 7 cm or less. Metastasis has not yet started and the average tumor size is approximately that of a tennis ball. Stage II has a bigger tumor, approximately 8-9cm or more and still mo metastasis. Stage III has a bit of seeding on the lymph nodes, nearby tissue or the nearby blood vessel. And the last stage, stage IV has the tumor metastasize beyond the surrounding tissue, lymphatic system and/or nearby organs. This is the most common stage wherein kidney cancer is discovered. Although there are available treatment modalities for those who have late stage cancer of the kidneys, it is imperative that a second opinion must be sought. This is done to confirm the diagnosis of the disease so that proper treatment can be started with the patient.

2012 State of the Union Address on Education

Last night, January 24th 2012, President Barack Obama delivered his 2012 State of the Union address. It was filled with a teamwork concept of lawmakers to shore up a potential long-term financial crisis and risk to traditional American lifestyle and the middle class. He also focused on energy, tougher banking and financial restrictions, health reform, tax adjustments for the wealthier Americans, and educational improvement.Since we’re mainly focused on higher education and financial aid, we’ll only speak to that point of the State of the Union.First off, President Obama spoke about education being a major part of his agenda. He believes America should be a country that leads the world in educating it’s people.”An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world,” Obama said. “An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.”So What Did Obama’s 2012 State of the Union specifically say about American Education? He started off congratulating states and local educators for raising their standards for teaching and for learning. And doing it for less than 1 percent of what our nation spends on education every year. That’s the first time in a LONG time that has happened.He spoke about the importance of teachers. And in a time where a lot of other countries are spending MORE on teachers and education, budget cuts and deficit worries have forced American states to lay off thousands of teachers. He offered suggestions on reward programs and providing additional resources to state education to keep, hire, and employ more and better teachers who are happy with their jobs.He wants to increase graduation rates and called on states to pass new laws to mandate that all students stay in school until they graduate or hit 18 years of age.President Obama addressed concern over the growing cost of tuition stating that, “…the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college. At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.”He implored Congress to extend the tuition tax credit his administration has already started as well as loan borrowing cost reductions. The President has already put loan borrowing policy into place that reduces the burden on student repayment plans. He wants to double the number of work-study programs available so students can work their way through school and increase aid to ease costs.Lastly, he warned higher education institutions to keep their costs down and education affordable for everybody. Obama said, “So let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down. Higher education can’t be a luxury – it’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.”So What does the 2012 State of the Union on Education Mean for Me?In our opinion, it’s clear that the President realizes the importance of affordable education. We believe the current tax breaks and borrowing percentage reductions will continue as is, maybe even get better. The Obama administration has already bumped up the Pell Grant to $5500 and that may increase as well in the near future. There seems to be a strict focus on making higher education as affordable as possible for every citizen while increasing student and financial aid options to every student. This should only get better as we move along, especially now that private colleges as well as university institutions are going to be on notice to keep their skyrocketing costs from going up.It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with President Obama and his organization, there is a focus on education and it still seems like a great time to apply for college and take classes. Financial aid will only increase and we’re already aware of the benefits of a college education.