As with all cancers, kidney cancer begins when abnormal cells in the body start to grow out of control. The most common form of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma (RCC), with nine out of 10 kidney cancers diagnosed as RCC. The type of RCC someone has determines treatment.
Men are twice as likely to develop RCC than women, and African-Americans and people of Native American descent are slightly more at risk than Caucasians.
There are several other forms of kidney cancer that are rarer, such as Wilms tumors that almost always occur in children.
The risk factors of developing kidney cancer are similar to those of most cancers, but there are some hereditary conditions that can increase your risk.
Common risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- Advanced kidney disease
- Workplace exposures to cadmium, some herbicides, and other substances
- Von Hippel-Lindau disease
- Hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma
- Hereditary leiomyoma-renal cell carcinoma
- Birt-Hogg-Dube (BHD) syndrome
- Familial renal cancer
- Hereditary renal oncocytoma
- Family history of kidney cancer
Signs and Symptoms
Early on, there may be no signs or symptoms of kidney cancer. However, once the tumors grow and the cancer progresses, the symptoms can include:
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Low back pain on one side
- A lump on the side or lower back
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Fever that does not subside
Although these symptoms could be attributed to another, less serious condition, you should see your doctor if you experience them.
If you are diagnosed with kidney cancer, there are several treatment options available to you, including:
- Ablation and other local therapies
- Active surveillance
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
If you are at risk for, showing signs of, or have already been diagnosed with kidney cancer, the Urology specialists at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston will guide you through the diagnostic and treatment process. We will discuss your options and help you to choose the right treatment plan for you and your lifestyle.