Kidney Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with kidney cancer, the physicians of Rogue Valley Urology will provide you with the best possible care. Kidney cancer is slightly more common in males and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 50 and 70 years. With early detection and treatment, kidney cancer can be cured.

Kidney cancer begins in the kidneys, the two bean-shaped organs located behind your abdominal organs, on each side of your spine. Each is about the size of your fist. Your kidneys serve as your body’s main filters and help control fluid balance, regulate electrolytes, prevent acid buildup, eliminate waste products, produce urine, regulate blood pressure, and produce a hormone to stimulate the production of red blood cells.

Kidney cancer begins when mutations occur in the DNA of kidney cells, causing the cells to grow and divide rapidly resulting in a tumor. The most common type of kidney cancer found in adults is renal cell carcinoma. In young children, Wilms’ tumor is more likely to develop. The incidence of kidney cancer appears to be increasing; however, that could be due to frequent use of imaging technology, such as CT scans, which can lead to the discovery of asymptomatic kidney cancers.

Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

In its early stages, there are rarely any signs of kidney cancer. As it progresses, kidney cancer symptoms may include:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Persistent back pain, just below the ribs
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Intermittent fever

When to See Your Doctor

Because symptoms are not often present in the early stages, it is important that you see your doctor should you experience any of the late stage symptoms.

Causes of Kidney Cancer

Factors that can increase the risk of kidney cancer include:

  • Smoking
  • Older age
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Treatment for kidney failure
  • Tuberous sclerosis
  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease
  • Hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma

Treatment for Kidney Cancer

Surgery is the initial treatment for the majority of kidney cancers. When surgery isn’t an option, other treatments may include:

  • Freezing cancer cells (cryoablation)
  • Heating cancer cells (radiofrequency ablation)

Kidney cancer that recurs and or spreads to other parts of the body may not be curable, but may be controlled with treatments that include:

  • Surgery
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted drug therapy
  • Radiation therapy

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