The most common form of kidney cancer, renal cell carcinoma, originates in the tubes inside the kidney that filter the blood and remove waste products. It accounts for about 95 percent of all kidney malignancies. Some important characteristics of the disease include no early warning signs, a number of symptoms that include:
- Blood in the urine
- Flank pain
- A mass in the flank or abdomen that can be felt
- Weight loss
- High blood pressure
- Abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood
- Night sweats
- Varicose veins around the testicles, usually on the left side
Kidney Cancer Risk Factors
- Smoking not only doubles the risk, but also contributes to one third of all cases. There is what doctors refer to as a dose-dependent relationship between smoking and kidney cancer, meaning the more cigarettes an individual smokes, the greater the chances for developing the disease.
- Obesity can contribute to the likelihood of developing the disease, especially in women. There is a direct correlation between increased body weight and increased risk.
- High blood pressure
Asbestos Exposure may be a Kidney Cancer Risk Factor
Asbestos is known to be a human carcinogen, but it is unclear if it is a cause of kidney cancer. There is continued controversy because there is little evidence from which to draw a definitive conclusion.
In a 2005 report titled “Report on Carcinogens”, the National Toxicology Program, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, noted that when fiber material containing chrysotile was added to the diet of rats, the number of cases of malignancies, including kidney tumors, increased.
A study titled “One Agent, Many Diseases: Exposure-Response Data and Comparative Risks of Different Outcomes Following Silica Exposure”, published July 2005 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, researchers reviewed the available data for silica’s role in three diseases, including kidney disease. They compared the increased risks of death or disease incidence by age 75 for the diseases after 45 of exposure to silica at what was the current US standard of acceptable exposure at the time of the study.
They observed that the increased risk of end-stage kidney disease was 5.1percent. The increased risk of death from kidney disease was estimated to be 1.8 percent.