Kidney cancer starts in the kidneys and can be life-threatening if it spreads to other parts of the body just like most types of cancer. In most cases, people do not exhibit any kidney cancer signs and symptoms in early stages if their tumors are not large.
Kidney Cancer Signs and Symptoms
In later stages and cases where there are large tumors, some common kidney cancer signs and symptoms that may appear are the presence of blood in the urine, pain in the lower back, lumps on the back or sides, appetite loss, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and fever.
While these symptoms may point to kidney cancer or another type of cancer, they may also indicate the presence of another condition. For instance, bloody urine can be a symptom of a urinary tract infection. Nonetheless, if you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
Kidney Cancer Early Detection
In many cases, kidney cancers are diagnosed early when they have not spread to any other tissues and organs in the body. However, some kidney cancers are detected in later stages as some tumors can become large without causing any symptoms. Furthermore, it is impossible to detect tumors in the kidneys with a physical examination, and there aren’t any tests in use for those who are not at a high risk of developing kidney cancer.
There are tests that can detect kidney tumors early such as routine urine tests, CT scans, and MRIs, but they are not necessarily recommended for those who are not at high risk. Urine tests can look for the presence of blood in the urine, but there are numerous conditions that can cause blood in the urine.
CT scans and MRIs can also detect cancers in the kidney but they are costly. In many cases, kidney cancers are diagnosed by chance at an early stage with a CT scan or MRI, which is ordered to look for an entirely different condition.
Those who are at an increased risk of getting kidney cancer have a different case, however. People who have a family history of kidney cancer or certain hereditary diseases that are associated with an increased risk of kidney cancer like von Hippel-Lindau disease should get screened with imaging tests for kidney cancer on the regular.
Individuals who have had prolonged dialysis treatment for a kidney disease or failure are also at a higher risk of kidney cancer and are recommended to get regularly screened for kidney cancer.
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