Early detection of a kidney cancer can facilitate timely treatment and increase the chances of cure. A kidney cancer isn’t as common as other types of cancer. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, any person has only 2% chances of developing kidney cancer.
Humans have a pair of kidneys which are responsible for producing urine, facilitating red blood cell production, regulating blood pressure and water and electrolyte balance, and excreting excess fluids and toxins. A cancer is an abnormal growth of cell which may hamper the function of the organ. The kidneys are so deep inside the body; it is harder to find the condition just by looking or feeling for growth. It doesn’t cause any symptoms until the tumor is already grown.
A kidney cancer is also termed as renal cancer. It usually occurs in the lining of the kidney tubules (tiny tubes). Men compared to women are more affected with kidney cancer.
Factors that increase the risk of kidney cancer include:
- Prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals especially in the industrial or chemical workplace
- Heavy smoking
- Family history of cancer
- Intake of painkillers for prolonged periods
- Prolonged use of painkillers
Some early signs of the kidney cancer are:
- Blood in urine is the most common sign of kidney cancer. The most common symptom of a kidney cancer is the blood in the urine. Remember that noticing the blood in urine doesn’t mean you have cancer; other infections may cause this symptom. The appearance of blood in urine along with frequent urinary tract infection (UTIs), painful urination, change in color of the urine should not be ignored.
- Low back pain is common in people of age 40 and above. However, a sudden pain in the lower back, starting with a dull ache and leading to a severe pain, lasting for about a few days or months may need an evaluation by the physician.
- A lump or a mass in the abdomen may indicate cancer in any of the organs in the abdomen. Lumps that emerge from either side of the abdomen and may increase in size with time, should be investigated.
- Fatigue is common to all types of cancer. Fatigue of cancer is not the same as that due to lack of sleep. Cancer fatigue is persistent, debilitating, doesn’t subside on taking rest, and hampers the daily activities.
- Anemia may occur due to the deficiency of red blood cells. Kidneys secrete a chemical called erythropoietin, which facilitates production of red blood cells. Kidney cancer can thus result in low production of red blood cells, leading to breathlessness, and tiredness.
- Unexpected weight loss is an early sign of any type of cancer. A sudden weight without any effort may result from loss of appetite and calorie imbalance due to fast growing cancer cells.
- Loss of appetite is an early symptom of cancer. A change in taste, imbalanced metabolism, nausea, and fatigue can decrease the access to food and the desire to eat.
It is important the people become aware of early signs of kidney cancer. Someone, truly said eyes see what the mind knows, so if a person is aware of these signs, there is a likelihood of them noticing it.