LIFESTYLE & COMMUNITY

Kidney Cancer: 8 Warning Signs And What Increases The Risk Of The Disease

Date September 17, 2019

Cancer takes the lives of thousands of people all over the world every year. Many types of cancer begin to show symptoms only at later stages when treatment may or may not work. People who get the diagnosis early have better chances to undergo a successful treatment and go into remission.

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Cancer is still not fully understood, and doctors still don't know why it occurs. Kidneys work as the natural filters of our body, and they can also be affected by cancer.

Kidney cancer is common

Kidney cancer is one of the 10 most common types of cancer and it affects women and men. According to research, 1 in 63 people will develop kidney cancer at some point in their lives. Kidney cancer is rare in people younger than 45. At the same time, this disease can affect a person of any age.

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There are some factors that increase the risk of the disease, some of which can be avoided. Like other cancers, the disease may show no symptoms. And, like other cancers, it can be successfully treated if diagnosed early.

Symptoms of kidney cancer

Kidney cancer shows no noticeable symptoms at its early stages. It’s usually found accidentally during imaging tests for other health problems.

If kidney cancer shows its symptoms, they may include the following:

  • change of urine color to pink, red, or brown;
  • 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;
  • anemia;
  • swollen ankles and legs.

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People with kidney cancer don’t necessarily have all of these symptoms. But if you notice any of them, visit your doctor as soon as possible to find out their cause.

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Risk factors of kidney cancer

There are several things that put you at a higher risk of kidney cancer. They include:

  1. Older age. Kidney cancer is most commonly diagnosed in people older than 60.
  2. Smoking nearly doubles the risk of kidney cancer.
  3. Gender. Men are twice as likely as women to have the disease.
  4. Obesity. Hormone imbalance in people with extra weight increases the risk of kidney cancer.
  5. 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.
  6. Heredity. If your close blood relative, especially brother or sister, has or had kidney cancer, you are at higher risk.
  7. Some inherited syndromes, which include von Hippel-Lindau disease, Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex, and hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma.
  8. Dialysis. People who have been on dialysis for a prolonged period of time are at an increased risk of the disease.
  9. Certain chemicals. The harmful substances including cadmium, asbestos, benzene, organic solvents, and some herbicides can increase the risk of the disease.

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How to prevent kidney cancer

The causes of kidney cancer aren’t clear, so we still don't know how to prevent it. All you can do is to manage controllable risk factors and have regular medical check-ups. It may help find the disease early. If you are at a higher risk, talk to your doctor and discuss whether you need extra tests and how often you need them.

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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.

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