Human body has two bean-shaped kidneys, each being of a fist size. Their main job is to produce urine, remove waste products and clean the blood. Found in the lower abdomen under the ribcage, it not only filters the waste but also makes sure that enough red blood cells are produced in the body. Like any other organ, cancer may also grow in the kidneys.
According to the American Cancer Society, kidney cancer is one amongst the top ten most commonly found cancers and is often discovered in the people older than the age of fifty.
What do you mean by kidney cancer?
Kidney cancer is a disease in which kidney cells grow at a faster pace thus forms a tumor. Almost all the kidney cancers make their first appearance in the lining of small tubules in the kidney. The medical name is renal cancer carcinoma and with this only kidney cancer also get another name i.e. renal cancer. The good news about kidney cancer is that it is easy to treat it successfully as it can be detected before it spreads to distant organs.
Although doctors also don’t know the exact reason behind kidney cancer but there are some factors which have been found to increase the risk of kidney cancer:
- Smoking: As compared to non-smokers, smoking increases the risk for kidney cancer twice.
- Gender: Males are more prone to the disease as compared to women.
- Overweight: Being obese leads to changes in hormones thus increasing the risk.
- Pain Killers: Certain pain medications used for a long time also lead to kidney cancer.
- Genetic: Certain genetic conditions e.g. family history of kidney cancer, lymphoma, high blood pressure etc.
It is also true that having these risk factors does not mean that one will necessarily suffer from kidney cancer, in fact despite having none of them one may still get the disease.
Let’s discuss five of the most commonly found symptoms of kidney cancer (in many cases no early signs or symptoms of kidney cancer may appear till the tumour has grown quite large)
Blood in urine
The most common symptom of kidney cancer is blood in urine and this is also known as hematuria. Blood in urine gives impression of brownish, pink or red discolouration. Usually even little bit of blood may change the colour but sometimes it becomes necessary to go for lab test as during urinalysis only, blood in miniscule amount could be detected.
Fatigue and anemia
Anemia means loss of red blood cells which may cause fatigue thus leaving the patient pale. Just feeling tired is not cancer fatigue and could not be resolved by a good sleep but if it continues for quite some time and hinders the normal activities of a person, looks like a concern which needs attention.
A lump or mass
It is difficult to feel the kidney lumps as they are deep in the abdomen. They can only be discovered with the help of diagnostic tests such as ultrasound or CT scan. But one might feel some heaviness near the area and should take this seriously and get the above tests done.
Fever, appetite and weight loss
Unexplained fevers and unexpected weight loss when gets mingled with other signs may also point to the same disease.
Pain in lower back
This is a symptom which will only be felt in the later stages. The pain is felt in the abdomen below the ribs. Pain is also felt in the pelvis area- it’s a sudden pain lasting for few days.
Remember some of these symptoms are applicable for other diseases and therefore further diagnosis as soon as possible will help patients recover well in time.
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