Renal cell carcinoma is one of the most common forms of kidney cancer. It is also known as renal adenocarcinoma, hypernephroma, or renal cancer. There is no known certain cause of this form of cancer. The cells in the linings of the tubules of the kidney multiply and grow uncontrollably. This leads to the accumulation of cancerous cells and the formation of tumors. Sometimes, the cancerous cells break off and spread to other parts of the body. This is when the cancer is said to have metastasized. Early detection and diagnosis can help in treating renal cell carcinoma.
Renal cell carcinoma is mostly observed among men aged between 50 and 70 years. Although the exact causes of renal cell carcinoma are not known, there are certain risk factors that can increase the probability of this form of cancer.
- Long-term dialysis treatment
- Family history of renal cancer
- High blood pressure
- Formation of cysts in the kidneys
- Overuse of certain medications such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines.
Common signs and symptoms of renal cell carcinoma
In the very early stage of renal cell carcinoma, there are no apparent symptoms and signs. A person starts experiencing the symptoms after the tumors enlarge during the later stages. The symptoms of renal cell carcinoma are similar to those of kidney stones and bladder infections. The following are some of the common signs and symptoms of renal cancer-
This is a phenomenon where the urine has some amount of blood in it. There can be a substantial amount of blood in the urine giving it a pinkish tint. The blood present can be very little in quantity, which can be detected only under a microscope or through various urine tests.
- Lower back pain
If the tumor in one or both the kidneys has grown considerably, it can trigger pain. The pain originates in the kidneys and will be experienced in the lower back and on the side below the rib cage. The intensity of pain will be constant and may make movements of the body difficult.
A noticeable lump will form near the kidneys that may extend outward from the body. The lump will grow when the kidney tumor has grown to a substantial size. The lump will grow in the lower abdomen, or under the rib cage. In some cases, a lump develops on the back or on the side.
One of the most prominent symptoms of renal cell carcinoma is anemia. When the levels of red blood cells in the blood decline considerably, it is referred to as anemia. This causes a person to feel constantly tired and sluggish. The person will have low stamina and energy.
Fatigue can be caused due to anemia. A person may also feel fatigued because the cancer cells in the kidneys compete for nutrients with the healthy cells. This may deprive the body of the essential nutrients required for sustenance and stamina.
Renal cell carcinoma can also cause a fever. There are fluctuations in the body’s temperature when the immune system tries to fight off infections caused by cancer.
- Sudden weight loss
Fever and fatigue may lead to sudden unexplained weight loss. If weight loss occurs along with the above symptoms, a person may have renal cell carcinoma.