Kidney plays a significant role in maintaining the normal function of the human body. It can not only filter blood from waste products but also produce important hormones like renin and calcitriol.
Kidney cancer is one of the most common cancers. According to the statistics from American Cancer Society, there will be about 63,340 new cases of kidney cancer in the United States. Besides, it is estimated that kidney cancer is common in older people and around 50 percent of kidney cancers are diagnosed in people aged 70.
Signs and symptoms
Early kidney cancer usually causes no obvious symptoms, and nearly 2 in 5 kidney cancer cases are found incidentally in health checkups. Some common symptoms of kidney cancer include:
- Blood in the urine
- A lump or mass in the kidney area
- Low back pain on one side
Other vague symptoms include unexplained weight loss, a fever, tiredness and loss of appetite etc.
Though it is unknown what exactly causes kidney cancer, scientists have identified some risk factors associated with kidney cancer. These risk factors include:
Obesity: Obesity is associated with many kinds of cancers. Being overweight increases the risk of developing kidney cancer. In addition, the high blood pressure induced by obesity is also one of the causes of kidney cancer.
Smoking: It is reported that many kidney cancer patients have smoking habits and the increased risk seems to be related to how much you smoke. People who have smoked for 30 years are more likely to grow kidney cancer.
Workplace exposures: People who are exposed to metal chemicals at workplace belong to the risk group for kidney cancer. Some of the similar substances include cadmium and some herbicides.
Kidney disease: People who have long-term kidney dialysis have an increased risk of developing kidney cysts.
Family history: Study suggests that if your relatives are diagnosed with kidney cancer, you also have roughly double the risk of developing renal cell carcinoma themselves.
Genetic condition: A few people inherit faulty genes that increase their risk of developing kidney cancer.
Some studies also indicated that high blood pressure, diabetes, alcohol and mild painkilling drugs increase the risk of getting kidney cancer.