Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Cancer
Cancer usually doesn’t cause symptoms in the early stages, and kidney cancer is even more silent than other forms of cancer. The most common symptom experienced by some affected by this condition early is blood in the urine.
Catching kidney cancer as early as possible is important, so you need to be able to recognize the possible symptoms, which include:
- Blood in the urine – Blood in the urine is usually the first warning sign. Urine can be bright red, or just pink or cola colored. It is usually painless and the color changes come and go, because the tumor may only bleed from time to time. At this point is important to get assessed by a doctor, because blood in the urine can be associated with other conditions as well (i.e. kidney stones, inflammation or infections).
- Feeling tired and looking pale – Losing blood (and the cancer itself) can lead to anemia, which can make you tired and pale.
- Back and side pain – Some people feel back pain or pain below the ribs that doesn’t respond to pain killers.
- Lump – You may be able to feel a lump in your abdomen.
- Fever – Some people may run a fever and have night sweats.
- Swelling – A build-up of fluid causing swelling can happen anywhere in your body, but is most common in the lower back, hands, legs and feet. This is called edema.
As the tumor grows there will be a general sensation of feeling unwell and significant weight loss – however these symptoms occur in later stages. In some forms of kidney cancers, the cancerous cells will produce extra hormones, and blood tests will reveal high levels of calcium (which can cause fatigue, constipation and feeling thirstier), the production of additional red blood cells (a condition called polycythemia) and high blood pressure.
Large tumors can also cause a swelling in the area where the kidneys are located. Later on, as the tumor spreads to other organs other symptoms can develop.
Prevent/Slowing Kidney Cancer
The exact cause of kidney cancer is not known. As with all types of cancer, there is a mutation in the kidney’s cell at the DNA level. The abnormal cells accumulate and form a tumor that will grow and spread to other organs like bones, or lymph nodes.
There are however some risk factors associated with the development of kidney cancer, and some of them can be avoided – for example smokers have an increased risk of being diagnosed with this condition. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible. Psychotherapy and various drugs can help you quit and maintain a smoke free life.
Obesity had also been linked with an increased risk for kidney cancer. You can shed those extra pounds with a healthy diet and a fitness plan. Both diet and exercise will help you boost the immune system and fight the cancer better.
The older you get, the more likely you are to develop kidney cancer. Don’t think you can’t turn the clock and age is irreversible. Although you can’t change the chronologic age, you can maintain a younger and healthier body with diet and exercise- both diet and fitness can slow down the aging process.
High blood pressure (another risk factor for kidney cancer) can be prevented and /or controlled with a healthy life style and medication.
Complementary and alternative therapies can help decrease your stress levels by improving your mood and sleep. Art, music or dance therapy, meditation, yoga or other relaxation techniques can be easily incorporated in your daily life, and very enjoyable, too.