Knowing and recognizing the symptoms of kidney cancer can help you decide when you need to see a doctor. Many of these symptoms are very subtle and can mean many different things, but none of them should be ignored.
If you have been diagnosed with kidney cancer understanding what causes the symptoms can make them easier to tolerate.
Symptoms of kidney cancer can range from severe pain to only a very generalized ill feeling or feeling poorly. You may have blood in your urine or a lump may come up on your side or flank. You may find that you are losing weight or you may have a fever.
All of these symptoms may be signs of many different diseases and conditions, but they may also be symptoms of kidney cancer, so they should not be ignored.
Pain May Be The First Thing You Notice
Kidney cancer may cause pain when a growing tumor within the kidney causes the kidney capsule the stretch. Your kidney is surrounded by a tough fibrous tissue that is called the renal capsule.
The renal capsule has millions of nerve endings and it is very sensitive to any swelling of the kidney. A tumor or other growths that causes the kidney to enlarge will stretch this capsule causing severe pain.
This pain will be located on your flank or mid back at the lower image of your ribs at the location of your kidney. The pain may radiate to your low back or abdomen. As the tumor grows and more tension is placed on the renal capsule the pain will become more severe.
Other conditions that may cause pain at the location of your kidney include kidney infection, kidney stones, and other kidney diseases.
Hematuria Or Blood In Your Urine May Develop
Blood in your urine may occur when the filter units within your kidney are not working correctly or when a tumor causes bleeding within the kidney.
One of the major functions of your kidney is to filter out toxins and waste products from your bloodstream. Each of your kidneys may have up to a million of these little filtering units called nephrons.
When these nephrons are damaged by a tumor or other cancerous growth it may cause blood to be directed into the urine rather than back into your bloodstream.
Bladder infection, bladder cancer, and other diseases of the urinary tract may also cause hematuria.
You May Notice Swelling Or A Lump
Certain types of cancers may appear as a growth on your kidney. Occasionally these may be felt as a swelling or lump on your back or flank at the lower edge of your ribs.
Some types of kidney cancer can metastasize or spread to other organs causing lumps to appear in different areas of the body. Metastatic kidney cancer may spread to the spine or other areas of your skeleton, the brain, the liver, the lungs, or other parts of your kidney.
Fever Is A Very General But Very Serious Warning Sign
The hyperactive growth of cancerous tumors may cause your body temperature to be elevated.
As you know, many different things may cause a fever including viral illnesses, bacterial infections, and inflammation. But when you're having a persistent or intermittent fever and no cause can be identified your doctor may want to evaluate you for other symptoms of kidney cancer.
Unplanned Weight loss Should Raise Suspicions
Losing weight when you are not dieting or exercising or otherwise actively trying to lose weight may be a sign of kidney cancer.
Cancers of many different types cause a change in your body composition with fat loss and muscle wasting. In advanced cases people may appear to be starving to death.
This wasting syndrome called cachexia is often accompanied by fatigue, weakness, and a significant loss of appetite.
Always Feeling Poorly Is A Dangerous Sign
As with weight loss, a general feeling of ill health can be caused by many different things including poor diet, various diseases of your many different organs, and unrecognized infections.
Just like with weight loss, when you are experiencing malaise or don't feel well and no other source of illness can be discovered you may need to be checked for kidney cancer.
If You Have Any Of These Symptoms
All of the symptoms of kidney cancer are somewhat vague and generalized, they may mean many different things, but they also may mean that you have kidney cancer.
The symptoms of kidney cancer should not be ignored and you cannot determine by yourself exactly what is causing your symptoms. If you're having any of these symptoms and you are unable to explain your pain or fever or the lump on your side you need to be evaluated.
If you don't know why there is blood in your urine, or why you are losing weight, or why you don't feel well, you need to see your doctor.
In most cases, when these symptoms are evaluated, no cancer will be found. But the symptoms do mean that there is something wrong with your kidney that needs to be treated. Ignoring these symptoms will not make them go away, and pretending they are not there will not make you feel better.
If you're having any of these symptoms, and don't know why, you need to be evaluated by your doctor at the earliest opportunity. Early diagnosis leads to early treatment, and early treatment leads to the best possible outcome.