Do you know what kidney cancer looks and feels like? You likely don’t, since it isn’t common for people to recognize the signs and symptoms of this kind of cancer. But it’s important to know what health changes could be signs that kidney cancer is present in your body. Approximately 73,750 new cases of kidney cancer were diagnosed in 2020, with 14,830 people dying annually from the disease. No matter your age, it’s important to be informed. Search online so you can learn about the signs and symptoms of kidney cancer.

Although kidney cancer most commonly affects older adults, anyone can ultimately develop the disease. If you’re informed about the very first signs of this type of cancer, you’ll be prepared to catch it early on. And that’s one key to getting successful treatment. Search online to learn more about kidney cancer.

How Kidney Cancer Begins

Kidney cancer, which is also called renal cancer, starts when cells within the kidney become cancerous. They start to grow uncontrolled and ultimately form a tumor. Typically, this process starts in the tubules, or tiny tubes, of the kidney.

Fortunately, kidney cancer is pretty easy to detect – which means it’s often caught before the cancer spreads beyond the kidney itself. This makes treating kidney cancer successfully a bit easier. However, by the time tumors are typically detected, they tend to grow decently large.

Who’s At Risk for Kidney Cancer?

While doctors don’t know the exact cause of kidney cancer, they do know that certain risk factors can make some individuals more likely to develop the disease.

Some of the risk factors for kidney cancer can be controlled; others cannot. The following are the most common risk factors:

  • Being age 40 or older.
  • Having high blood pressure.
  • Smoking.
  • Being male.
  • Using some pain medications for long periods of time, like over-the-counter medications.
  • Being obese or overweight.
  • Living with advanced kidney disease.
  • Being on long-term dialysis.
  • Having certain genetic conditions, like VHL disease.
  • A family history of kidney cancer. Specifically, having siblings who’ve had kidney cancer.
  • Exposure to chemicals like asbestos, cadmium, benzene, organic solvents, or herbicides.
  • Being diagnosed with lymphoma.

If you’re concerned about your risk factors and potential for developing kidney disease, it’s important to talk with your doctor. You can search online to find doctors in your area so you can get professional advice and recommendations. 

Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

Although kidney cancer is often diagnosed early on, the disease is a bit unique. It typically doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. 

Rather, signs and symptoms appear once the tumor has begun to grow increasingly larger. However, any symptoms spotted before the cancer spreads past the kidneys are helpful. Symptoms tend to include:

  • Blood in the urine.
  • Unusual urine colors, like pink, red, or cola-colored.
  • Back or side pain that doesn’t go away.
  • A loss of appetite.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Tiredness or fatigue.
  • A fever.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, make an appointment to see a doctor. These symptoms could be a sign of kidney cancer, but they could also be the symptoms of other health conditions and concerns. It’s critical that you get checked out and undergo diagnostic testing to get answers.

Don’t have a doctor? Search online to find doctors and specialists who can discuss the symptoms of kidney cancer with you.

Treating Kidney Cancer

If you are diagnosed with kidney cancer, your doctor will discuss a treatment plan and all of the potential treatment options with you. Your specific treatment will depend on a few different factors, like your overall health, your symptoms, and the location and stage of your cancer. 

Typically the first treatment used to combat kidney cancer is surgery. Surgery is used to remove the cancer. It might include removal of the kidney or of cancerous tissue. If your cancer hasn’t spread beyond the kidney, this may be the only kind of treatment you need.

However, in cases where the cancer has spread, additional treatment options will likely be needed. These typically include:

  • Cryoablation: A treatment that freezes cancer cells.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation: A treatment that heats cancer cells. 
  • Targeted Therapy: Involves using drugs to target cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy: Uses medications to help your immune system spot and attack cancer cells.
  • Radiation: A treatment that uses high-powered energy beams to kill cancer cells.

Treatment can vary, but your doctor and any specialists you see will work together to find the right treatment plan and combination of options for your specific case. If you’re looking for a doctor who can treat kidney cancer, search online to discover options within your local area. You can also learn more about potential treatment options with online research.