Warning Signs Of Kidney Cancer

Some types of cancer are easy to pinpoint, even in the beginning stages, because they leave visible, clear cut signs and many of the symptoms are unmistakable. Kidney cancer, sadly, is not one of those cancers. It can easily go unnoticed and untreated, so it warrants extra fear and concern.

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Furthermore, in addition to how difficult it is to diagnose because it doesn’t always leave any external lumps on the skin, the various possible symptoms can also be an indicator of several other illnesses and health issues as well. Too often, the tumor/s on the kidney won’t cause any symptoms at all in the beginning stages. This is why they’re easy to miss and may only be discovered during an exam or procedure meant for some other health condition, such as an Xray or an ultrasound. By then, however, the cancer may already be in a more advanced stage and spread to other parts of the body, thus more difficult to treat.

Tests And Ways To Reduce Your Risk

For all these reasons, it’s crucial to get tested for kidney cancer periodically, especially if you have any close relatives who have been diagnosed with it. There are quite a few tests that can determine kidney cancer at any stage, such as: a specialized urine test that can detect the slightest traces of blood in it, or a blood test that contains chemicals and other waste that the kidney would normally filter out, MRI, CT, or a biopsy, which involves removing a tiny piece of kidney tissue and examining it under a microscope.

Fortunately though, it’s not nearly as common as other cancers, such as stomach or breast cancer. Kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer, is thought to only affect about 2% of the population.

These are some of the do’s and don’ts if you wish to reduce your risk of developing kidney cancer: Don’t smoke, maintain a healthy and balanced diet, control your weight, stay away from chemicals like benzene and asbestos, and don’t drink excessive alcohol. Alcohol is one of the most damaging substances for our kidneys, so it’s best and safest to drink as little alcohol as possible.

Listed below are some of the possible warning signs and symptoms of kidney cancer.

Blood In The Urine

The most common sign of kidney cancer is sudden and unexplainable blood in the urine (hematuria), which may appear rusty or dark red.
Of course, some cases of blood in the urine are perfectly normal and nothing to worry about, such as menstrual blood and implantation bleeding in women.
However, there are several other and more common health conditions that can also cause sudden and abnormal blood to be found in the urine, such as kidney stones, an injury in the pelvic area, or some type of infection or inflammation. So if you notice any strange blood in your urine, get tested for kidney cancer as soon as possible.

Lower Back Pain

If you start experiencing sudden pain on one side or on your lower back, and it doesn’t go away, then this is another strong sign that you may have kidney cancer. If you don’t have any other illness that may be causing the pain, and you haven’t suffered any recent injury or undergone any surgery that would explain the pain, then it’s strongly recommended to get tested for kidney cancer.


Another possible sign of kidney cancer is a prolonged fever or night sweats. So many other illnesses and health conditions can trigger your body to turn up the heat, such as a cold, a flu, an autoimmune disorder or some other condition, so it may not necessarily be kidney cancer at all. The only way to know for sure is to get blood and urine tests to rule out any other possibilities.

Abnormal Weight Loss

Have you been stepping on your scale lately, and found that your weight is dropping all of a sudden? Or perhaps your clothes have been gradually getting larger on you? If you haven’t made any changes to your exercise or your diet that would explain the weight loss, then this just might be an indication of kidney cancer.

Swollen Ankles and Feet

Your shoes should fit your feet well and comfortably. If you have kidney cancer, however, you may find that your feet and ankles are swollen, and thus you can’t fit into some or all of your shoes as well as you once did. This may happen due to a build-up of salts in your blood that your kidneys failed to remove from your system. However, other conditions are also known to cause swollen feet, such as edema.

Final Thoughts

If you are experiencing one or more of the possible symptoms mentioned above, or symptoms not mentioned, the most important thing is to not panic, and never self – diagnose. This will only drive you crazy and is completely counter-productive.

If your doctor does diagnose you with kidney cancer, it is treatable and manageable. The treatments vary, depending on your individual health and what stage the cancer is at. Talk to your friends and family for support.

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