Kidney Cancer

An Overview

Kidney cancer begins in the kidneys. Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They’re located behind your abdominal organs, with one kidney on each side of your spine. The kidneys are a pair of bean shaped organs located in the abdomen. The function of the kidneys is to filter the blood of certain wastes creating urine. Normally, cells in the kidneys that are old or damaged will stop dividing and die before they can become cancerous. Symptoms of kidney cancer include blood in the urine, giving the urine a rusty, pink, or dark red appearance. Kidney cancer, also called renal cancer, is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK.

It usually affects adults in their 60s or 70s. It is rare in people under 50. It can often be cured if it’s found early. But a cure will probably not be possible if it’s diagnosed after it has spread beyond the kidney. There are various types of kidney cancer, and the most common is called renal cell carcinoma, and it starts to develops in the proximal convoluted tubule, a very small structure in the kidney that handles blood filtrate to produce urine.

In adults, renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer — about 90 percent of cancerous tumors. Other less common types of kidney cancer can occur. Kidney cancer is more common in long-term dialysis patients and people with a familiar background, and even more common if they smoke and have a body mass index above 30. However, noncancerous conditions like cysts, benign tumors, or infections are the most common causes of these symptoms.  Blood in the urineshould always be investigated to determine the cause. Kidney cancer is most treatable and curable if caught in the earliest stage of the disease. Untreated and/or advanced kidney cancer can spread from the kidney into surrounding tissues and into the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, bones and brain, where it can form another cancerous tumor. This is called metastasis.

Causes of kidney cancer

The cause of kidney cancer is unknown. There are certain risk factors that make it more likely to develop kidney cancer. These include Obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, long-term dialysis, male gender, Von Hippel – Lindau (VHL) syndrome and certain occupational exposures ( asbestos workers for example). Doctors know that kidney cancer begins when some kidney cells acquire mutations in their DNA. The mutations tell the cells to grow and divide rapidly. The accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor that can extend beyond the kidney

Symptoms for Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer rarely causes signs or symptoms in its early stages. And currently there are no routine tests used to screen for kidney cancer in the absence of symptoms. In the later stages, kidney cancer signs and symptoms may include:

  • Blood in your urine, which may appear pink, red or cola colored
  • Abdominal Mass
  • Back pain (Pain in your back or side that doesn’t go away)
  • Dark Urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever
  • Flank Pain
  • Tiredness
  • Blood in the Urine
  • Malaise
  • Kidney area lump
  • Red Urine
  • The most common type of kidney cancer starts in the convoluted tubules, which carry blood filtrate and contribute to creating urine.


Tests and procedures used to diagnose kidney cancer include:

  • Blood and urine tests.Tests of your blood and your urine may give your doctor clues about what’s causing your signs and symptoms.
  • Renal angiography. In this test, your doctor threads a catheter up a large artery in your leg or groin, to the renal artery.
  • Imaging tests.Imaging tests allow your doctor to visualize a kidney tumor or abnormality. Imaging tests might include an ultrasound, a computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Intravenous pyelogram. In this test, a healthcare provider will inject a special dye into one of your veins. The dye allows your kidneys to be seen more clearly with X-rays.
  • Removing a sample of kidney tissue (biopsy).In rare cases, your doctor may recommend a procedure to remove a small sample of cells (biopsy) from a suspicious area of your kidney.
  • Urinalysis can allow your doctor to determine if there’s blood present in your urine. It may also reveal other signs of an infection.


Treatment for kidney cancer will vary widely depending on how advanced the cancer is. In some cases, if the cancer is small and slow growing, a provider may decide to just watch it closely and not start treatment until there are signs that the cancer is getting worse.

The treatment for kidney cancer focuses on removing the tumor from your body. This is usually done through surgery. Surgery can be radical or conservative.

  • A radical nephrectomy is a surgical procedure that removes your kidney. The entire organ is removed, along with some surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. A complete (radical) nephrectomy involves removing the entire kidney, a border of healthy tissue and occasionally additional nearby tissues such as the lymph nodes, adrenal gland or other structures.
  • Removing the tumor from the kidney (partial nephrectomy).Also called kidney-sparing or nephron-sparing surgery, the surgeon removes the tumor and a small margin of healthy tissue that surrounds it rather than the entire kidney
  • Metastatic kidney cancer can’t be treated with surgery alone. After as much tumor is removed as possible with surgery, other treatments may be necessary.


Kidney cancer is a serious medical condition that can have a dramatic effect on your health and quality of life. Because the exact cause of kidney cancer is not known, there is no known prevention. However, you may be able to reduce your risk by quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to asbestos and cadmium.

  • Quitting smoking
  • Moderate your alcohol intake
  • Making life style changes
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Lose weight
  • Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in fat
  • Steer clear of toxic chemicals
  • Get more Exercise
  • Choose complex carbohydrates over simple ones.

Make sure that you include lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet as well. These complex carbohydrates are much healthier for you than simple ones like white bread, white pasta, candy and sugar. Some good choices include:

  • Apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, berries, cherries, pineapple, mangoes, papaya.
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, onions and  garlic.

Hope this Symptoms and cure article will be helpful to all. Do not forget to share your valuable suggestions if any.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *