Kidney cancer is a disease that begins in the kidneys and spreads throughout the body.
Cancer of the kidney, also known as renal cancer, is a disease in which the kidney cells become malignant (cancerous) and grow out of control, resulting in the formation of a tumor.
Almost all kidney tumors begin in the lining of the kidney’s small tubes (tubules), found throughout the body.
Let us look at the signs, symptoms, and treatment options for kidney cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Cancer
Early kidney cancers normally do not manifest themselves with any signs or symptoms, but larger tumors may.
In most cases, kidney cancer is discovered by chance during an abdominal (belly) imaging test performed for another reason. Symptoms may manifest themselves when the tumor grows in size. Symptoms include:
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Low back pain on one side (not caused by injury)
- A mass (lump) on the side or lower back
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss that is not caused by dieting and occurs for no known reason, and lasts for weeks
- Night sweats
- Fever that is not caused by an infection and that doesn’t go away
- Anemia (low red blood cell counts)
When kidney cancer spreads to other parts of your body, you may experience additional symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood
- Bone pain
These signs and symptoms can be caused by kidney cancer (or another type of cancer). Still, they are more often caused by other, non-cancerous diseases.
Treatments For Kidney Cancer
Once you have received a kidney cancer diagnosis and know the stage of the disease, you and your doctor can work together to develop a treatment plan.
The most common form of treatment for kidney cancer is the surgical removal of the kidney entirely or in part. The type of surgery you have is determined by how far your cancer has progressed. The 3 common types of surgery are:
- Radical nephrectomy
- Simple nephrectomy
- Partial nephrectomy
Suppose surgery is unsuccessful in removing your kidney cancer. In that case, your doctor may recommend another procedure to aid in the destruction of the tumor. These may include:
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Arterial embolization
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
- Biologic therapy