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Kidney Cancer Causes, Diagnosis, Symptoms and Treatment

Kidney FunctionsSeeing blood in one’s urine can be a disturbing occurrence. This might signal a major illness that needs proper medical attention.

What is the function of kidneys in the body?

Our kidneys serve to function as our body’s filter system. These come as paired bean shaped organs. The lower rib cage protects these two important organs. Kidneys filter excess water, salt and waste products. The waste materials that are filtered are excreted from the body as urine. Furthermore, our kidneys function to produce chemicals that aid in controlling the blood pressure. These are also responsible in producing substances involved in the red blood cell formation.

Kidney Cancer Causes

Kidney cancer is defined as an abnormal growth of cells in the kidney that is beyond control. Renal cell cancer is the most common type of kidney cancer. This accounts for 85 percent of all kidney tumors. The causes of kidney cancer are not always known. However, smoking, some genetic factors and medicine overuse are some of the factors that can predispose a person to a higher risk of kidney cancer. Today, the incidence of kidney cancer is increasing. This is probably due to most people’s rising exposure to environmental carcinogens. However, kidney cancer only accounts for about 2 percent of all adult cancers. Kidney cancer is more commonly seen in men than in women and mostly affecting those people above the age of 40. Kidney cancer incidence is seen at its peak with people between the ages 50 and 60.

Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

There are three classic symptoms of kidney cancer which include hematuria or the presence of blood in the urine, a long standing pain that doesn’t seem to go away, and a lump or palpable mass in the abdomen. The occurrence of any one of these symptoms may signal the first sign of kidney cancer. The cancer might have already spread to the renal pelvis if there is evidence of microscopic or gross hematuria. The abdominal pain experienced by patients with kidney cancer maybe constant and dull. The lump or palpable mass is commonly smooth, non-tender and firm. Almost 10 percent of all kidney cancer patients exhibit the three classic symptoms. Other symptoms of kidney cancer include fever, a general feeling of illness, hypertension, and hypercalcemia. Hypercalcemia is a condition wherein there is an elevated calcium level in the blood. Experts believe that the increase calcium level in the blood is caused by tumor, which produces parathyroid hormone. Additionally, there might also be urinary retention, weight loss, edema or excess fluid in the legs, vomiting, and nausea.

Clinical Tests

There are several clinical tests available in order to confirm the presence of kidney cancer. These include intravenous pyelography, retrograde pyelography, and ultrasound studies. In order to rule out associated bladder cancer, a cystoscopy may be performed. On the other hand to distinguish kidney cyst from tumor, a nephrotomography or renal angiography is often done. In some cases biopsy may be done in order to confirm the presence of cancer cells.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Kidney Cancer

Radical nephrectomy is often the procedure of choice for patients with kidney cancer. This form of treatment is by far the best procedure and which offers the only chance of cure for kidney cancer patients. Nephrectomy is the surgical removal of the affected kidney. Although surgery is the primary choice of treatment, it is still upon the doctor’s discretion to use combination of methods and create the best treatment plan depending upon the patient’s age, health, and the cancer stage.

Finally, the earlier kidney cancer is detected the higher is the patient’s chance of cure and recovery. Kidney cancer is less likely to spread to other parts of the body during its early stages.

By: Michael Russell

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with information that may be useful in attaining optimal health. Nothing in it is meant as a prescription or as medical advice.

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