What to look for
reddish or cloudy
dull pain in the abdomen,
back, or side.
a mass or lump in the lower
back that feels smooth and firm but does not necessarily hurt.
vomiting, appetite and weight loss.
The kidneys are a pair of
organs positioned above the waist on either side of the spine. The outer portion of each
kidney cleanses the blood and produce urine. Benign cysts often develop in this area; much
less often, a malignant tumour forms.
Renal cell carcinoma, the
most common type of adult kidney cancer, starts in a kidney's outer portion. Transitional
cell carcinoma, originates in the interior of the kidney, where urine collects. Cancer
cells may eventually spread to other organs.
Kidney cancer is strongly
linked with a number of other health problems.
congenital defects of the
kidney or bladder
frequent urinary tract
kidney disease requiring long-term dialysis
von Hippel-Lindau disease.
smokers more likely to
develop kidney cancer
exposure to industrial
diets high in fat and
If your doctor detects a mass
in the abdominal or kidney region or using a stethoscope hears an unusual
noise over the renal artery, he will check for kidney cancer.
If it is caught early, a
kidney tumour will be removed surgically. The surgeon tries to remove only the cancerous
area but may have to take out the entire kidney along with surrounding fat, lymph nodes,
and possibly the adrenal gland.
Radiation therapy and
chemotherapy can reduce tumour size but are not consistently effective in preventing the
spread of kidney cancer.
radiation nor chemotherapy is particularly successful in treating advanced kidney cancer.
New therapies are being
tested constantly in the hope of improving cure rates for this and other cancers.
When patients reach remission
stage, they must be checked regularly for recurrence or complications.
(See Cancer for more
information about therapies.)
Stop smoking immediately.
Maintain your ideal weight and limit high-fat foods, and red meat. Always toss out foods
that become mouldy or rancid, including nuts, seeds, or rice.
When to seek further