Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located on either side of the body, function of which is to filter out waste products from the blood and to produce urine. Usually, only one of the kidneys is affected by cancer.
There are many forms of kidney cancer, but majority of these are renal cell cancer, also known as renal adenocarcinoma or renal cell carcinoma or hypernephroma. It develops from a cell in a kidney tubule, grows and forms into a tumour within the kidney. In most cases, kidney cancer develops in people over the age of 60 although anyone can succumb to the medical condition.
A cancerous tumour starts from one abnormal cell. The exact reason behind kidney cancer is unclear. Health experts agree that it develops as something damages or alters certain genes in the cell which turn it abnormal.
Following are the risk factors that increase the chance that kidney cancer may develop.
# Age and Sex: People over the age of 60 are more likely to develop kidney cancer. The cancer form is not common people aged under 50. Moreover, men are more likely to develop kidney cancer than their opposite sex.
# Smoking: According to www.cancerresearchuk.org, smoking increases the risk of getting kidney cancer substantially. On average, smokers have a 50 per cent increase in risk. The chemicals from tobacco get into the body and are passed out in urine. These chemicals in the urine may inflict severe damage to kidney tubule cells.
# Other Chemical Carcinogens: Some workplace chemicals such as asbestos, cadmium and some organic solvents have been tied to an increased risk of kidney cancer.
# Obesity: Obesity is a root-cause of many health conditions; kidney cancer is one of them. It has been found that those who are overweight are at increased risk of kidney cancer.
# High blood pressure (hypertension): If you have abnormal blood pressure levels, the risk of developing kidney cancer goes up.
# Genes: You may develop kidney cancer because of the genetics. A faulty gene which runs in some families could be the reason to trigger kidney cancer. Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome and tuberous sclerosis are some of the genetic disorders that put one at a higher risk of developing kidney cancer.
The common kidney cancer symptoms include blood in your urine, a constant pain below your ribs and a lump in your abdomen. On noticing any of these symptoms, see a GP as soon as possible. He/she will examine if you these are kidney cancer symptoms and may refer you to a specialist clinic for tests.
If diagnosis of kidney cancer is made at an early stage, there are chances of a cure which becomes more difficult as the cancer advances. However, there are treatment options for kidney cancer that helps slow the progression of the condition.
Read more articles on Kidney Cancer.