Kidney cancer occurs when healthy cells in one or both kidneys continue to grow out of control and form a tumor. There are many types of kidney cancer, but the most common form in adult patients is renal cell carcinoma, which if left untreated can develop into stage 4 renal cell carcinoma and require aggressive treatment. In most cases, renal cancer stays in the kidney but may spread to other organs, such as the lungs, brain, and bones. Treatments for renal cell carcinoma include surgery, targeted therapy, immunotherapy with medications such as Inlyta (be sure to consult doctor’s Inlyta prescribing information closely before taking any medications), and medications like Opdivo. When kidney cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the symptoms can be managed easily. The following symptoms are prime indicators of kidney cancer:
1. Blood in the urine (or hematuria)
According to the Kidney Cancer Association, Hematuria is the most common early symptom of kidney cancer. As indicated, kidney cancer mostly affects the renal tubules responsible for cleaning the blood and making urine. When they are dysfunctional, their ability to clean blood is compromised. The presence of blood in urine is sometimes difficult to notice and can only be detected through urinalysis. A small quantity of blood in your urine is enough to change urine color to pink, red, or brownish. Thus, it is crucial to seek medical attention once you detect consistent color changes in your urine because it may suggest kidney cancer. Other causes of blood in the urine include kidney stones, kidney infections, cysts, bladder infections, and injuries to the kidney.
2. Lower back pain
Back pain is mostly associated with people aged 40 and above. However, According to the Kidney Cancer Association, 40% of individuals suffering from renal cell carcinoma report lower back pain on one side. Nevertheless, individuals don’t experience back pain until the later stages of cancer. Patients experience different instances of pain, depending on the rate of infection. For some, the pain can range from a dull ache to a sharp stab on the lower part of the ribs. Medical experts suggest that you should seek medical services once you begin to experience persistent back pain that lasts for days.
3. A mass (or lump) on the side or low back
Kidney cancer occurs when one of the healthy cells in the kidney continues to grow beyond control, forming a lump or mass around the abdomen. The mass is usually cancer tumors. It feels hard or bumpy under the skin. Sometimes, you may not feel or see the tumor grow because kidneys are located deep in the abdomen. However, not all lumps indicate kidney cancer. Thus, it is critical to visit medical facilities for a CT scan to determine the cause of the lump.
4. Unexplained fatigue
The Kidney Cancer Association reports that 70 percent of people suffering from kidney cancer report unexplained fatigue. This results in a lack of sleep and tiredness. Moreover, it can interfere with your daily activities. Thus, make a doctor’s appointment if you experience consistent unexplained fatigue.
5. Loss of appetite and associated weight loss
You may experience loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss, especially when the tumor spreads to other organs.
Kidney cancer is most often treated with surgery, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or a combination of these medical treatments and health medications. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are occasionally recommended by oncologists to help shrink kidney tumors prior or following surgery. If you experience any of the above signs of kidney cancer, please consult with a doctor immediately. According to statistics, the 5-year survival rate for kidney cancer patients diagnosed in stage 1 is 81%.