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Kidney cancer

Posted Jun 27 2011 9:05am
BBC News
Tony Blacker

What is kidney cancer?

There are several types of kidney cancer. Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type in adults, responsible for approximately 80 per cent of cases.

Kidney cancer symptoms

Many people with kidney cancer have no symptoms at first, especially when the cancer is small. The affected kidney will become larger and in time, the tumour may grow through the wall of the kidney and invade nearby tissues and organs, such as the muscles around the spine, liver and nearby large blood vessels.

As the cancer develops, the following may occur:

  • Blood in the urine, which is usually painless and may 'come and go' as the tumour bleeds (the first symptom in 60 per cent of cases)
  • Pain in the back or side
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • High blood pressure
  • Feeling generally unwell or tired
  • Loss of appetite
  • Polycythaemia (too much blood in body) or anaemia (too little)
  • Varicocele (tangled network of veins in the scrotum)
  • Hip fracture, owing to spread of the cancer to bone
  • Excessive hair growth in females
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Night sweats
  • Severe weight loss
Kidney cancer causes

Although kidney cancer is more common in men over the age of 60, many people develop it for no apparent reason. However, certain risk factors increase the chance of it developing, including:

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