Kidney cancer signs to look for as half of cases are symptomless

Cancer symptoms: Top 14 early signs to look out for

Kidney cancer is the seventh most common form of cancer in the UK, accounting for around 13,000 new cases every year.

It has around a 52 percent survival rate, however, 34 percent of cases could be prevented, according to Cancer Research UK.

Despite its prevalence kidney cancer can easily go by unnoticed. This is because around half of cases don’t display symptoms.

The NHS says many cases aren’t picked up until the patient undergoes medical tests for completely unrelated issues.

Cancer Research UK lists some warning signs to be aware of to help lead to a potentially life-saving diagnosis.

The kidneys are part of the urinary system, which filters waste products out of the blood and makes urine.

It also includes the bladder, ureters, urethra and prostate (in men).

Therefore a common sign of kidney cancer could appear when going to the toilet.

Blood in the urine

Haematuria is the medical name for having blood in your urine, which is the most common symptom of kidney cancer.

“It might be caused by an infection, enlargement of the prostate or kidney stones,” the charity says. “Always see your GP if you notice any blood in your urine.

“The blood does not have to be there all the time. It can come and go. Sometimes, the blood cannot be seen by the naked eye but can be picked up by a simple urine test.

“As the bleeding can come and go, you or your doctor may think that the problem has gone away.

“This can mean that an early, treatable cancer in the kidney or bladder is allowed to grow to a stage where it may be more difficult to treat.”

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A lump

A lump or mass in the kidney area could indicate cancer.

The charity states: “If you feel a lump or swelling in the area of your kidneys, go straight to your doctor.

“Most kidney cancers are too small for you or a doctor to feel. But your doctor can arrange an ultrasound scan to check for cancer.”

Other symptoms

There are less specific symptoms that could mean you have kidney cancer including:

  • Weight loss
  • A high temperature and very heavy sweating
  • A pain in your back on one side (below the ribs) that won’t go away
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • A general feeling of poor health.

The charity advises seeing your GP as soon as possible if you find blood in your urine, a lump in the kidney area or if you experience other unexplained symptoms.

Causes of kidney cancer

In most cases it is not clear what has caused someone to develop kidney cancer.

However, there are a number of factors that can increase your risk for the disease.

These include:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Having kidney failure
  • Family history of kidney cancer
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having type 1 diabetes
  • Having thyroid cancer.

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