Kidney cancer, or renal cancer, is an uncommon condition where cancer begins in the kidneys. Although the cause is unknown, kidney cancer is more common in smokers and in people with a family history of kidney cancer. Obesity and advanced age are also risk factors.
Kidney cancer generally causes no symptoms in its early stages, but, as the disease advances, some of the symptoms are blood in the urine, pain in the side or back, fatigue, and weight gain. Some of these symptoms are commonly associated with other conditions, and that is why it is important to see a doctor if any of these symptoms persist.
Diagnosis of kidney cancer is similar to that of other cancers. Your doctor will give you an examination, ask about family history, and likely order blood tests and imaging tests such as a CT Scan or an MRI. A biopsy may also be ordered, and suspected cancerous tissue will be extracted and examined for cancer cells.
Kidney cancer can be treated surgically or medically. Surgical options include removal of the entire kidney or only the affected tissue. Nonsurgical options frequently include the freezing or heating of the cancerous tissue and radiation therapy.
Late stage kidney cancer outcomes are not as favorable as other cancers, however, the earlier the cancer is found, the better the chances of survival. After successful treatment, your oncologist will continue to monitor you to watch for recurrence of the cancer.