Kidney cancer overview
Kidney cancer is one of several types of urologic cancers. This type of cancer originates in the kidneys, and is one of the top ten most common types of cancer among men and women. While it can occur at any age, it’s generally found in people over 45. In fact, the average age of diagnosis is 64.
There are several different types of kidney cancer. Of those, the most common form is renal cell carcinoma. This type of cancer usually begins with a single tumor (or mass) in the kidney. However, there may be more than one tumor in one or both kidneys. Most renal masses are discovered “incidentally” during the work-up or evaluation of another condition in which imaging is performed.
Symptoms of kidney cancer
In its early stages, individuals may not experience notable symptoms. As the tumor grows, symptoms will start to appear. Unfortunately, many of the symptoms associated with this cancer, are also typical for other benign urologic conditions. These health conditions will need to be ruled out quickly. Common symptoms include:
- Blood in the urine (hematuria).
- Persistent pain in the abdomen/flank.
- A lump or mass in the abdomen/flank.
- Persistent fever.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Appetite loss.
Researchers aren’t positive what causes this type of cancer. However, they do know that certain factors increase the risk of developing this disease:
- Smoking – Smokers are twice as likely to develop kidney cancer as non-smokers. The risk is also higher for heavy smokers.
- Obesity – Being overweight puts individuals at a higher risk.
- Exposure to certain chemicals – Certain chemicals can increase risk, including cadmium, benzene, asbestos, organic solvents and some herbicides.
- Gender – Men are approximately twice as likely to get kidney cancer.
- Age – Most cases occur in people over the age of 45, with the average age at diagnosis being 64.
- Family history of kidney cancer.
- Particular genetic conditions – Von Hippel-Lindau disease or inherited papillary real cell carcinoma.
- High blood pressure.
If you are experiencing urologic symptoms, have blood in your urine, or a family history of kidney cancer, contact Urology Austin to schedule an evaluation.