Kidney cancer is cancer that begins in the kidneys. Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They're located behind your abdominal organs, with one kidney on each side of your spine. In adults, renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer. Other less common types of kidney cancer can occur.
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The kidneys have a critical role in maintaining the overall health of an individual. Dysfunctional kidneys can negatively impact the body’s ability to filter extra water. This can also affect blood pressure and red blood cell production.
If these organs have been damaged, waste products can build up inside the body. Signs of possible kidney dysfunction can be physically seen and felt. Ankles may become swollen and nausea and weakness are likely to occur. Many individuals with this type of damage have poor sleep quality and shortness of breath.
Acute failure develops quickly and can be fatal. Kidney cancer can also cause death, but will progress over a shorter period of time.
These organs help keep the entire body functions. By regulating the body’s system, they can control blood pressure and remove extra fluid.
1.) Waste removal. By filtering waste and extra fluid from the human body, these organs can help maintain proper health. Kidneys are able to filter approximately 200 quarts of blood each day. This helps with the production of urine.
2.) Healthy bones. In addition to waste management, the kidneys create a form of vitamin D. This allows for the absorption of calcium to make bones strong and sturdy. Strong bones are especially crucial for the elderly population to prevent the risk of falling.
3.) Blood cell production. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Kidneys are responsible for making the hormone, erythropoietin. This helps the bone marrow to generate more red blood cells.
There are several types of this kind of cancer. Certain demographics may face more of a risk than others depending on the stage and diagnosis.
Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer. This cancer typically starts as a single tumor. Tumors can occur in one or both kidneys. When diagnosed in a lab, the renal cells often look clear or pale.
Transitional cell carcinoma is another form of cancer. This typically starts in the lining of the pelvis. Symptoms of this cancer include blood in the urine and occasional back pain.
There are several potential causes for these types of cancers. Cigarette smoking, obesity and workplace exposures can be a factor of an unhealthy lifestyle. Hereditary causes include a family history of renal cell cancer and high blood pressure. Renal cell carcinoma is much more common in men than women.
This type of cancer does not always present with symptoms. For this reason, it can be difficult to find a proper diagnosis. Certain symptoms may appear after the initial first stage.
One common symptom is blood in the urine. The technical name for this symptom is hematuria. Women who experience blood in the urine may initially assume it is a urinary tract infection. Regardless of the cause, a medical professional can help diagnose the issue. Although most people who experience this symptom also experience pain, it is not always present. If there is any blood in the urine, a physician should be contacted immediately.
Unexplained fevers are another common symptom. Cold sweats or feeling dizzy and weak may be a sign of a fever. Fevers associated with this type of cancer are generally felt throughout the day and are not associated with a cold. Fevers that have no apparent cause and last for more than a day are considered unusual for otherwise healthy individuals.
Many patients complain of lethargy. Feeling out of breath and drowsy are signs that the body is working extra hard to maintain proper functioning. Beginning to middle-stage cancer may produce a sense of weakness or sleep issues.
Weight fluctuation is normal for those diagnosed with cancer. Many individuals with this type of cancer experience a loss of appetite. A weight decrease may happen without notice. Those who are unaware of weight loss may find that their clothes hang differently or no longer fit.
Anemia can be a sign of many illnesses, but it is especially common with this type of cancer. Anemia indicates a low amount of red blood cells and can create discomfort. Feeling cold and a loss of color in the skin are both signs of anemia. For women, anemia can occur with the menstrual cycle, but in this case the symptoms continue for a longer period of time.
One physical sign of kidney cancer pertains to the lower part of the torso. If there is a lump on the lower back, belly or side, this can indicate kidney cancer. If this area is touched, the individual will likely feel pain. Almost half of all patients that have renal cell carcinoma experience a mass or lump in the lower part of the torso.
If an individual feels a lump in the back, side, or abdomen, a physician can order certain diagnostic tests. This frequently consists of either an ultrasound or a CT scan. These tests can figure out the cause of the mass.
Blood tests can also show potential kidney issues. This can also indicate whether the cancer may have spread to other areas of the body. Urine tests are another popular method to diagnose the blood.
Depending on the symptoms, a physician may wish to perform advanced testing. The use of MRI scans can help if the cancer is advanced. Assessing symptoms and diagnosing the issue is crucial to the overall health of the body. For symptoms that do not subside after a few days, seeing a medical specialist is highly recommended.
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