Because early diagnosis is so critical to improving survival rates, those at risk for the disease need to be able to recognize kidney cancer symptoms. If you’re curious about whether you’re at risk for this cancer and any potential signs or symptoms you should watch out for, keep reading.
Symptoms of the Disease
Bloody Urine: Bloody urine is a common sign. However, like many symptoms, it can also be associated with bladder cancer and other bladder-related ailments.
Back Pain: Many people diagnosed with kidney cancer experience low back pain that isn’t associated with an injury or other physical ailment.
Lump or Bump: In many cases, a mass or lump can be felt in the stomach.
Fatigue: Fatigue is a common symptom of many patients. They feel weak, lethargic and unable to maintain high energy levels. Unfortunately, this is a very general symptom associated with numerous diseases.
Loss of Appetite: Unintentional weight loss that happens quickly can be a symptom of the disease. Many patients lose their appetites, have trouble eating and digesting, and tend to lose weight quickly.
Fever: Frequent fevers that aren’t connected to some other infection, flu or cold are often associated with it.
Swelling: Edema, also known as swelling in the lower legs is a typical symptom most apparent in women.
Higher Blood Pressure: Like many of the other symptoms listed above, high blood pressure can be attributed to numerous other diseases. However, if discovered alongside other symptoms, it can often be a good indicator for the disease.
Risk Factors for Kidney Cancer
Smoking: Smoking is the cause of 30% of renal cell carcinoma (common kidney cancer) cases in male smokers and 25% of cases in women.
Analgesic Abuse: Overusing and abusing pain killers that contain phenactin (no longer prescribed in the U.S.) can increase the risk for the disease.
Occupational Exposure: Exposure to carcinogenic materials at work like asbestos, petroleum products, camium and certain organic solvents can all increase the risk for developing it.
Genetic Disorders: Genetic disorders that affect the kidney (e.g.: tuberous sclerosis) will increase the risk. In addition, a strong family history (at least two close family members diagnosed with the disease) will also increase a patient’s risk.
Weight Gain: Obese people are at a higher risk for developing this cancer than others who keep their weight at a reasonable and healthy level.
Long-Term Kidney Failure: Persistent and consistent kidney failure can cause cysts to form in the kidney, therefore increasing the cancer risk.
Advancing Age: Typically, renal cell carcinoma only develops in adults over the age of fifty and under seventy.
Gender: RCC (renal cell carcinoma) is twice as common in men than women.
If you have or have been exposed to any of the above risk factors for kidney cancer, it’s critical that you be aware of kidney cancer symptoms. Should you experience any of the listed symptoms, be sure to talk to your doctor without delay.