Kidney Cancer (Renal Cell Carcinoma)
Kidney cancer is a type of cancer that has its origins in the kidneys, two bean-shaped organs about the size of a fist that are found behind abdominal organs. A kidney is found on either side of your spine.
Factors That Can Increase Risk of Developing Kidney Cancer Include:
- Age - Risk of kidney cancer increases as you get older.
- Your sex - Men are more likely to develop kidney cancer than women.
- Smoking - Smoking increases risk of the disease but risk decreases after quitting.
- Obesity - Obese people are at higher risk for kidney cancer than those people considered to be average weight.
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) - Patients with high blood pressure are at a greater risk of developing kidney cancer.
- Workplace Chemical Exposure - Those exposed to certain chemicals can have a higher risk of developing kidney cancer, especially chemicals such as asbestos and cadmium.
- Treatment for Kidney Failure - Long-term dialysis patients are at a greater risk of developing kidney cancer.
Kidney Cancer Symptoms:
Generally, kidney cancer in its early stages rarely has any signs or symptoms. Kidney cancer in the later stages exhibits several signs and symptoms which include:
- Blood in the urine.
- Consistent back pain below the ribs that does not subside.
- Loss of weight.
- Being fatigued.
- Intermittent fever.
If you have any of these persistent symptoms or signs that are of particular concern, please consult your physician.
Diagnosis of Kidney Cancer:
Your physician may use various tests and procedures to diagnose kidney cancer including:
- Urine tests and blood tests.
- Imaging tests, including computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound. Tests such as these help your doctor visualize kidney abnormalities.
- Performing biopsy (removing a small sample of tissue from the kidneys). Generally because doctors treat kidney cancer through surgery, biopsies are not often performed. Biopsy of the kidney primarily is performed in cases most likely considered to be non-cancerous or on those patients who cannot withstand a major surgery.
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