Risk Factors/Signs and Symptoms

The exact reasons that Kidney Cancer develops are still unknown. Every day, research is proving to identify certain risk factors associated with the disease. Following is a list of the most common factors:

Advanced Kidney Disease - Patients on dialysis are at a greater risk for developing this type of cancer.

Gender and Race - This cancer is found about twice as often in men as in women. African Americans have a slightly higher rate of renal cell cancer.

Genetics - Some rare, inherited conditions (von Hippel-Lindau Disease, Papillary Renal Cell Carcinoma, Leiomyomatosis and Renal Cell Carcinoma, Birt-Hogg-Dube Syndrome and Renal Oncocytoma) are shown to put a patient at a higher risk for this type of cancer. Also, those with family members who have had Kidney Cancer are also at a higher risk of developing the disease.

High Blood Pressure - Patients with high blood pressure are often treated with drugs, which makes it difficult to tell if the risk is higher due to the drugs or the high blood pressure on its own.

Medicines - Phenacetin, a formerly popular pain killer has been linked to kidney cancer.

Smoking - Smoking increases the risk of developing this type of cancer and is linked to the quantity of cigarettes smoked.

Weight - People who are overweight person have a higher risk of developing Kidney Cancer.

Work Environment - Studies suggest that exposure to certain chemicals, such as asbestos, cadmium, herbicides, benzene and organic solvents increases the risk of kidney cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

Most often, early kidney cancers do not have signs. It is when the cancer is developing and growing larger that patients begin to exhibit symptoms.

The following symptoms present themselves and may indicate cancer is developing in the kidney:

- Blood in the urine

- Lower back pain on one side that is not caused from an injury

- A mass or lump on the side or lower back

- Tiredness

- Weight loss

- A fever that doesn't go away after a few weeks

- Swelling of the ankles and/or legs

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