According to the World Cancer Research Fund , kidney cancer is the 14th most common cancer in the world. If you or someone close to you has been affected by kidney cancer, understanding more about it can help you cope.
In this section you can find more information about the risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options available, as well lots of handy resources to help you through the journey.
Kidney cancer often shows no symptoms in its early stages, and appears as the cancer grows. Signs and symptoms may include:
Kidney cancer is cancer that starts in the kidneys. Your kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped, fist-sized organs located behind your abdomen. One sits on each side of your spine.
The kidneys main job is to filter your blood and help the body get rid of excess water, salt and waste products. They also produce hormones that monitor blood pressure and regulate the production of red blood cells.
While each person has two kidneys, it is possible to live with less than even one complete kidney. In fact, some people live without any working kidneys and rely on a process called dialysis, where a machine takes on the job of filtering waste products from the blood.
In adults, the most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma, which begins in the lining of the small tubes that make up the kidney. Although renal cell carcinoma typically develops as a single tumor in one kidney, it sometimes affects more than one part of a kidney or even both kidneys. Children are more likely to develop a form of kidney cancer called Wilms’ tumor.
Kidney cancer occurs when abnormal kidney cells grow and divide uncontrollably. The accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor that can extend beyond the kidney. Some cells can break off and spread (metastasise) to distant parts of the body. Even if a person has kidney cancer, their kidneys may still function normally.
There are several types of kidney cancer. The most common forms include:
After cancer is diagnosed and staged, your doctor will talk with you about different treatment plans. Your kidney cancer treatment options may include:
While in many cases the cause of kidney cancer is not known, taking steps to improve your health can reduce your risk of developing the disease. These include: