Kidney cancer is one of the top ten most common cancers, and it is most often discovered in men over fifty, according to the American Cancer Society. Renal cell carcinoma is the medical name for the most frequent type of cancer that affects the kidneys.
The kidneys are the urine-producing organs that sit under the ribcage in the lower back. Not only do they filter waste, they also make sure the body produces enough red blood cells. As with any organ, cancer can grow in the kidneys.
Blood in the Urine
Blood in the urine is called hematuria. According to the Kidney Cancer Association, hematuria is the most common sign of kidney cancer. If you have blood in your urine, you may see pink, brownish, or even a red discoloration.
Lower Back Pain
Most people don’t experience pain until cancer is in later stages. Pain from kidney cancer is felt on one side of the flank, the area above the pelvis, and below the ribs in the abdomen.
A Mass or Lump
A mass or lump in the abdomen can be a warning sign of kidney cancer. Kidney lumps may be difficult to feel because they are deep in the abdomen. Once a lump is discovered, your doctor may order diagnostic tests, such as an ultrasound or a CT scan. These tests may help determine what your lump may be.
Anemia and Fatigue
Anemia, the loss of red blood cells, can also cause fatigue and leave a patient looking pale. Unusual tiredness should always be investigated with a doctor.
Weight Loss, Appetite, and Fevers
Another common cancer symptom is sudden and unexpected weight loss. This usually happens rapidly and not when the patient is trying to lose weight or dieting. A person with cancer can also lose interest in eating. Even their favorite foods can become unappealing.
To determine whether these symptoms indicate cancer, your doctor will run several tests, including a urinalysis and blood tests. These tests will discover any unusual blood chemistry and check your liver functioning.
Unfortunately, kidney cancer often has no signs until later stages. That’s why it’s important to see a doctor quickly if you do have any of these symptoms. If you have a medical history that includes cancer, make sure you tell your physician.