There are many types of cancer, some more well known than others. Because awareness and control are directly related, this article will discuss kidney cancer, one of the lesser known cancers, in conjunction with cancer control month. Though kidney cancer only accounts for about 2 percent of all cancers, it is still important to be aware of the risk factors and symptoms in an attempt to control this disease.

When kidney cancer is found in its early stages, it can often be cured. In fact, the survival rate for patients with kidney cancer is between 79 to 100 percent. With this in mind, early detection is a key factor for curing kidney cancer.

What are the Risk Factors for Kidney Cancer?

Men between the ages of 50-70 make up the largest population of kidney cancer patients, however, kidney cancer effects both men and women of all ages. Some of the risk factors include:

  • smoking
  • hypertension
  • obesity
  • family history of kidney cancer
  • a high calorie diet with large amounts of fried or sauteed meat
  • chronic kidney failure and/or dialysis
  • Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome
  • tuberous sclerosis

As you can see from the list, there are some risk factors for kidney cancer that are within a person’s control, as well as some that are beyond control. It is important to be aware of the risk factors and control what you can. Those who fall into a higher risk category should be aware of the symptoms for kidney cancer in order to catch this cancer at the earliest stage possible.

What are the Symptoms for Kidney Cancer?

One of the difficulties in obtaining an early diagnosis for kidney cancer is that many kidney tumors produce no noticeable symptoms until the cancer spreads to other organs. Unfortunately, there is no simple blood or urine test that can directly detect kidney cancer. Early stages of kidney cancer are often found during a routine screening for people who fall into some of the high-risk categories, such as those who have already been diagnosed with Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome or tuberous sclerosis.

When the kidney cancer begins to effect other organs, the symptoms can vary depending on the effected area. For example, if the tumor compresses or stretches the kidney, this may effect a nearby area and cause back pain or abdominal pain. Shortness of breath may be a symptom if the cancer metastasizes to the lunges, while fractures or bone pain may occur if the cancer spreads to the bones.

About 20 percent of patients with kidney cancer exhibit clinical or laboratory abnormalities called paraneoplastic syndromes. These symptoms can range from weight loss to fever to high blood pressure, and can occur at any stage of the cancer. In many cases, paraneoplastic syndromes resolve after the cancer has been removed.

Do you have one or more of the risk factors for kidney cancer? If so, then awareness is an important step in the fight to control and cure this disease. The best way to learn more about kidney cancer is to contact your urologist and schedule an appointment today.