Kidney cancer is a type of cancer characterized by the abnormal growth of kidney cells. It often occurs without visible signs or symptoms. In most cases, patients have symptoms when the cancer is in its later stages and becomes large enough to affect the normal function of the kidney and surrounding areas. People at a higher risk for kidney cancer include smokers, obese individuals, those with a family history of cancer, and patients with prolonged use of medication.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common signs of kidney cancer include blood in the urine, lower back pain, fatigue, unintentional weight loss, persistent fever with or without infection, and swelling of the ankles and legs. Some patients may present a palpable mass accompanied by tenderness in the abdomen when touched. Because kidney cancer rarely presents with symptoms in the early stages, these symptoms should be taken seriously since they could mean that the cancer has already progressed in severity.
The doctor will start an examination by looking at the history of the patient. A family history of cancer makes a person more at risk for any type of cancer. Although kidney cancer can be diagnosed without extensive testing, the doctor may want to have a number of tests done, including imaging tests such as a CT scan or an MRI, chemical urine and blood tests, or a biopsy of the renal mass for a clearer and more positive identification of the tissue.
Patients who are experiencing any of the symptoms described above should consult a physician who can perform the diagnostic tests necessary to rule out the possibility of cancer. Call Advanced Urology Institute for more information on kidney cancer, its symptoms and treatment.