8 Warning Symptoms Of Kidney Cancer And Risk Factors To Pay Attention To
Cancer takes the lives of thousands of Americans every year. Most types of cancer start to show symptoms only at later stages when treatment may or may not work. Those who receive the diagnosis early are often lucky to undergo a successful treatment and go into remission with little chances of recurrence.
The disease is still not fully understood, and its causes aren't exactly clear. Kidneys, the natural filters of our body, can also be affected by cancer.
How common is kidney cancer?
Kidney cancer is one of the 10 most common types of cancer in both women and men. It’s estimated that 1 in 63 people will develop kidney cancer at some point in their lives. This type of cancer is rather rare in people younger than 45. In any case, you need to be very attentive to your body at any age. Also, check out other types of cancer that take the most lives.
There are some factors that increase your risk of the disease, some of which can be controlled. Like other types of cancer, the disease may show no symptoms until later stages. And, like other cancers, it can be successfully treated if found early.
The prognosis for kidney cancer patients depends on the stage and grade (aggressiveness) of the disease and overall condition of their health.
What are the symptoms of kidney cancer?
Kidney cancer often shows no noticeable signs and symptoms at its early stages. In fact, it’s often detected accidentally during imaging tests for other health problems.
If symptoms and signs of the disease are present, they may include the following:
- change of urine color to pink, red, or brown due to the presence of blood in it;
- persistent pain and/or pressure in the back or side;
- a mass or lump in the abdomen, side, or back;
- extreme tiredness;
- loss of appetite and unintended weight loss;
- fevers that come and go and aren’t due to an infection;
- anemia (lack of red blood cells in your blood);
- swollen ankles and legs.
People with kidney cancer don’t necessarily have all of these symptoms. But if you have them, don’t hesitate to make a visit to your doctor to find out their cause.
What are the factors that increase the risk of kidney cancer?
There are certain external and internal factors that put you at a higher risk of kidney cancer. They include:
- Older age. The disease is most commonly diagnosed in people older than 60.
- Smoking nearly doubles the risk of kidney cancer.
- Gender. Men are twice as likely as women to develop the disease.
- Obesity. Hormone imbalance in people with extra weight increases their risk.
- High blood pressure. It’s unclear if high blood pressure itself contributes to a higher risk, or medicines used to control it are to blame.
- Skin color. Although it’s unclear why, but people with dark skin color are at a higher risk than Caucasians.
- Family history. If your close blood relative, especially brother or sister, has or had kidney cancer, you’re more likely to get it too.
- Some inherited syndromes, which include von Hippel-Lindau disease, Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex, and hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma.
- Dialysis. People who have been on dialysis for a prolonged period of time are at an increased risk of the disease.
- Exposure to certain chemicals. These harmful substances include cadmium, asbestos, benzene, organic solvents, and some herbicides.
Is there a way to prevent kidney cancer?
Because causes of kidney cancer aren’t clear, the ways to prevent it aren’t evident as well. All you can do is to manage controllable risk factors and have regular medical check-ups that may help detect the disease early. If you are at a higher risk, ask your doctor whether you need extra tests and how often you need them.
This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.