What is kidney cancer?
The kidneys filter waste from the blood to be expelled in urine. There are several types of kidney cancer. The most common kind is renal cell carcinoma, which accounts for 90 percent of kidney cancer cases.
Cancer can also start in the adrenal glands, which sit atop the kidneys. The hormones made by these glands regulate many body functions, including heart rate and blood pressure. Most adrenal tumors are not cancerous and can be surgically removed. Cancerous adrenal tumors are usually found because of the symptoms they cause.
Symptoms of kidney cancer
The following are the most common symptoms of renal cell cancer. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.
What are the risk factors for kidney/renal cell cancer?
The exact cause of renal cell cancer is unknown. However, there are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of the disease. These risk factors, according to the American Cancer Society include but are not limited to:
Smoking increases the risk of kidney cancer. The risk seems related to the amount you smoke.
Studies show a link between exposure to asbestos and kidney cancer.
There may be a link between cadmium exposure and kidney cancer. Cadmium may increase the cancer-causing effect of smoking.
- family history
Family history of kidney cancer increases a person's risk.
Men are twice as likely to develop renal cell cancer than women.
- von Hippel-Lindau syndrome
This is a disease caused by a gene mutation that increases the chances of renal cell cancer.
- tuberous sclerosis
Patients who have this disease are more likely to develop renal cell cancer.
A high-fat diet increases a person's risk of kidney cancer.
Obesity increases a person's risk of kidney cancer.
- long-term dialysis
Patients who have been on dialysis for a long time may develop kidney cysts, which may be one cause of renal cell cancer.
- high blood pressure
Patients who are overweight and have high blood pressure may have a risk for kidney cancer that is three times greater than patients who are not overweight and who have normal blood pressure.
- diuretics (water pills)
Drugs that eliminate excess body fluid have been linked to kidney cancer.
African Americans have a slightly higher risk of kidney cancer.