Kidney cancer starts in the cells of the kidney and it happens when cells in the kidney grow and multiply too quickly, forming a mass or tumor. The tumor can interfere with normal kidney function and spread to other body parts. Kidney cancer can be severe, but it can often be treated successfully if caught early. The signs and symptoms of kidney cancer may include:
- Blood in the urine
- A lump or mass in the abdomen
- Pain in the side or lower back that doesn’t go away
- Loss of appetite and unintended weight loss
- Swelling in the legs or ankles
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Fever not caused by an infection.
It’s important to note that other conditions can also cause these symptoms; not everyone with kidney cancer will experience them. Therefore, seeing a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment is essential.
Causes of Kidney Cancer
The exact cause of kidney cancer is not always clear, but some factors that may increase the risk of developing it include:
Smoking: Tobacco smoking is one of the leading causes of kidney cancer.
Obesity: Overweight and obese individuals have a higher risk of kidney cancer.
High blood pressure: High blood pressure for extended periods may increase the risk of kidney cancer.
Exposure to certain substances: Certain chemicals, such as asbestos, cadmium, or organic solvents, may increase the risk of kidney cancer.
Inherited conditions: Certain inherited genetic disorders, such as von Hippel-Lindau disease, Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome, and hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma, may increase the risk of kidney cancer.
Prevention of Kidney Cancer
Quit smoking: Cigarette smoking is a significant risk factor for kidney cancer. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce the risk.
Maintain a healthy weight: Exercise and a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight helps to prevent kidney cancer.
Control high blood pressure: High blood pressure is a risk factor for kidney cancer. Controlling high blood pressure through lifestyle changes and medication may lower the risk.
Avoid exposure to harmful chemicals: Certain chemicals, such as asbestos, cadmium, or organic solvents, may increase the risk of kidney cancer. Avoiding or minimizing exposure to these substances can reduce the risk.
Get screened for inherited conditions: Certain inherited genetic disorders, such as von Hippel-Lindau disease, Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome, and hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma, may increase the risk of kidney cancer. If these conditions run in the family, getting screened and taking appropriate measures to reduce the risk is essential.