An introduction to kidney cancerOtherwise known as renal cancer, kidney cancer refers to a disease whereby kidney cells become cancerous or malignant and grow rapidly and out of control thereby forming a tumor. Nearly all types of kidney cancers appear first as a lining the tiny tubes in the kidney and this is what is known as renal cell carcinoma. Fortunately, most cancers of the kidney are diagnosed before they metastasize or spread to distant organs. Detecting the cancer early enough comes with higher chances of being to treat it successfully. If undetected, these tumors can grow to very large sizes.
Kidneys play a crucial role in the body and the organs have a characteristic bean shape and their size is like that of a fist. The main job of kidneys is cleaning the blood, making urine and removing waste products, which can become toxic to the body. The actual cause of kidney cancer isn’t known by the doctors. However, they do know about certain risk factors, which increase the likelihood of one being diagnosed with the condition. For instance, people aged above 40 years are more vulnerable to getting kidney cancer.

Kidney cancer risk factors

One of the factors that put you at a great risk of getting kidney cancer is smoking. Smoking cigarettes and cigars increases your likelihood of getting this cancer two times more than the non smokers. Being male also puts you at a disadvantage as the likelihood of males getting kidney cancer is twice that of women. Obesity and extra weight leads to hormonal changes in the body thus increasing your risk. Extended use of certain medications particularly over the counter drugs and prescription drugs as well makes you more vulnerable as well. Advancement of a kidney disease as well as being put on dialysis for quite a long time increases the risk which is also the same case when it comes to treating kidneys that are no longer working.
Certain genetic conditions like papillary renal cell carcinoma or von Hippel- Lindau and a history of kidney cancer in the family increases the risk. Over exposure to certain chemicals like cadmium, asbestos, organic solvents, benzene and some herbicides can be very disastrous to your kidney health and can even cause kidney disease as well. Your blood pressure being high also puts you at a great disadvantage and you have a high likelihood of getting the disease.

Kidney cancer symptoms

More often than not, kidney cancer has no early symptoms and larger symptoms might appear with continued growth of the tumor. Common symptoms that should alert you include a lump in the abdomen, decreased appetite, blood in urine, a never ending pain, unexplainable weight loss, fever, anemia, extreme fatigue, swelling in your ankles and legs. When kidney cancer spreads to other body parts, other symptoms may be prevalent like breath shortness, bone pain and coughing up blood.