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Kidney Cancer

Important Information You Should Understand About Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer is a very serious disease that can be fatal in just a few years if it is not detected and treated quickly. Like many other types of cancer, there is no clear understanding of why kidney cancer develops in certain people. It is important to know the symptoms, risk factors, treatments and survival rates for kidney cancer.

Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

It is unusual for kidney cancer to generate any signs and symptoms in the early stages. Most symptoms occur only after the cancer has become very serious. A person with kidney cancer might have pain in the back due to swollen kidneys. Unexplained fatigue and weight loss are two other symptoms. Some individuals develop random fevers because of the cancer. A final symptom of kidney disease is blood in the urine or very dark brown urine.

Risk Factors for Kidney Cancer

A few things are more common in people who develop kidney cancer. Older individuals are more likely to get this disease. The same is true for people who have a family history of kidney cancer. People who smoke can trigger cell mutations that eventually reach the kidneys. Obese individuals or people with high blood pressure are at a higher risk although the reason why is not fully known. A final risk factor is having Von Hippel-Lindau disease. This disease causes tumors to form in the kidneys over time that can turn into cancer.

Current Treatments

The treatment a person receives for kidney cancer relies on personal health and the progression of the disease. Surgery is often used to remove the affected parts of the kidney, a tumor or even the entire kidney with surrounding tissues in some instances. New heat and cold treatments attempt to kill the cells with electricity or cryogenic liquids. Immunotherapy uses medications to boost the immune system with the hope that the body will destroy the cancer itself. Targeted therapies focus on preventing the cancer from spreading and reproducing by addressing specific areas in the body. Radiation therapy can be used to destroy the cancer using precise beams of x-ray energy.

Survival Rates

No doctor can accurately predict whether a person will survive kidney cancer. People who have cancer that is limited to the kidneys and that has not spread have an average 85 percent survival rate over five years due to advances in medical treatments. The number is lower if the cancer has start to spread beyond the kidneys. The general survival rate for these individuals is between 61 and 65 percent over five years. Detecting kidney cancer early increases the chance of survival and recovery.

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