Kidney cancer, also known as renal cell carcinoma, is a common malignant (cancerous) tumor that affects the kidneys and may be present at the time of diagnosis. Kidney cancer is more common in men than women. It usually originates from cells called epithelial cells which are located inside the kidney’s collecting ducts.
Kidney cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States. It is also the second leading cause of death from cancer among women, and the third-leading cause of cancer death among men
Kidney cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells in the kidneys grow and cause damage to normal tissues. This can lead to a decline in kidney function, which can lead to serious complications or death.
Types of kidney cancer
The most common type of kidney cancer is called renal cell carcinoma. This type accounts for about 80 percent of all kidney cancers, and it’s the most deadly type of kidney cancer.
Kidney tumors that contain a large proportion of small blood vessels (adrenal cortical carcinomas) are rare. They account for only 4 percent to 5 percent of all kidney cancers, but they’re responsible for 90 percent of all deaths from kidney cancer.
Other types include Renal pelvis carcinoma. This tumor develops in the part of the kidney that surrounds the ureter, which carries urine from the kidneys to the bladder. It usually occurs in men and women between the ages of 30 and 60 years who’ve never smoked cigarettes or had exposure to tobacco smoke or radiation from X-rays or radon gas (which contains radioactive isotopes). The disease tends to occur more often in people who have high levels of calcium in their blood (such as those with osteoporosis). The risk increases as you age, whether you’re male or female, and whether you have other risk factors such as diabetes mellitus or hypertension
Tumors related to your kidneys
Kidney tumours can develop in any part of the body, but are most common in the kidney. Kidney tumours are rare and can be difficult to diagnose.
Kidney tumours are usually benign (non-cancerous) but may be cancerous if they become large enough. They can also become strangulated (compressed by surrounding structures).
Tumours that develop on the surface of your kidneys are called renal cell carcinoma (RCC). RCC develops from cells that line the inside of your kidneys (renal tubules). These cells normally help your kidneys work properly.
RCC is rare, accounting for less than 0.5% of all cancers in males and 0.3% in females each year worldwide. It is more common in older adults than younger adults and affects people with a family history of RCC and people who have had metabolic syndrome (a group of conditions that increase your risk of developing RCC).
Kidney tumours are rare and vary in size, shape and colour. They may be difficult to detect because they are often asymptomatic. They can also be found in the same location as a kidney stone, which is why it is important to see your doctor if you have any symptoms of a kidney stone.
Causes and risk factors
Kidney cancer is the second most common cancer, after skin cancer. It affects 1 in 20 men and 1 in 100 women. The disease is more common in people who are older than 40 years of age.
The cause of kidney cancer is not known, but there are some risk factors that increase your chance of developing this type of cancer. These factors include:
Being overweight or obese
Having a family history of kidney cancer
Excess body weight (being overweight)
Having diabetes or high blood pressure
Symptoms of kidney cancer
The earliest symptoms of kidney cancer are often the same as those for other types of cancer.
In some cases, however, the symptoms may be more vague and nonspecific.
Other symptoms may include:
Unexplained weight loss.
Anemia (low red blood cell count).
Nausea and vomiting.
Diarrhea or constipation.
Pain in the back, abdomen or side.
Symptoms may include blood in the urine, pain in the side or lower back, a lump in the abdomen or flank, fever that comes and goes over weeks to months, weight loss, fatigue and swelling in the ankles.
Treating kidney cancer
If you have kidney cancer, your doctor will likely recommend that you begin treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you start treatment, the better your chances of surviving.
The first step in receiving treatment is to talk to your doctor about what type of treatment might be right for you. You’ll want to consider how advanced your cancer is and how long you have left before it progresses into other cancers or causes other health problems. Doctors can help determine the best course of action based on what they find during an exam and laboratory tests performed.
Kidney cancer is a serious, but treatable condition. Although it is most commonly a disease of older individuals, it can affect anyone at any age. If you suspect your loved one has the disease, seek immediate medical attention.