Kidney Cancer Diagnosis

Kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer, starts in the kidneys, the bean-shaped organs located in the back of the abdomen. In most cases, it is diagnosed early before the tumors spread to other parts of the body, which makes the treatment of this type of cancer much easier.

What Causes Kidney Cancer?

Though the exact causes are unknown, there are numerous risk factors associated with the development of kidney cancer. Some of these risk factors include certain hereditary conditions such as von Hippel-Lindau disease, a family history and diseases, obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure.

Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

People with kidney cancer do not typically exhibit any symptoms in the early stages until their tumors become larger in later stages. Some common symptoms are bloody urine, a lump in the lower back or the side, lower back pain, fever, fatigue, appetite loss, unexplained weight loss, and anemia.

While these symptoms may also point to a urinary tract infection or another condition, it is important to consult a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

Kidney Cancer Diagnosis

There are numerous tests that doctors can rely on to conclusively diagnose patients. A physical examination may be the first step as doctors can feel whether there is a lump on your side or in your abdomen.

Doctors can also check for other symptoms such as fever and blood pressure levels as well as take a look at your medical history and family history of kidney disease. If your doctor believes you may have kidney cancer based on your symptoms and the preliminary examination, there are more tests that can be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.

Imaging tests such as ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs are often used to detect tumors in the kidney. In many cases, people get a kidney cancer diagnosis when they get imaging tests done to look for another disease, which is why this type of cancer is often caught early.

Once it is positive that you have kidney cancer, you are typically referred to an oncologist for treatment whose approach entirely depends on the stage of the cancer. Some common treatment options include nephrectomy (partial or complete removal of the kidney), radiofrequency ablation, cryotherapy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

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