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Renal Cancer

Cancer that forms in the tissues of the kidneys is called renal cancer. Kidney cancer includes renal cell carcinoma (cancer that forms in the lining of very small tubes in the kidney that filter the blood and removes waste products) and renal pelvis carcinoma (cancer that forms in the center of the kidney where urine collects).

Kidney cancer develops most often in people over 40, but no one knows the exact causes of this disease. Research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop kidney cancer. Some of the risk factors are smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, long-term dialysis, Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, occupation, and gender.

Symptoms of kidney cancer can include blood in the urine, pain in the side that does not go away, a lump or mass in the side of the abdomen, weight loss, fever, and feeling very tired or having a general feeling of poor health.

If a patient has symptoms that suggest kidney cancer the doctor will perform some tests. These include physical exam, urine tests, blood tests, intravenous pyelogram, CT scan, ultrasound, biopsy, and surgery. A biopsy is done to get a sample of tissue from the kidney to be sent to the pathologist to look for cancer cells and determine diagnosis. The doctor also needs to know the extent of the disease or stage to help plan the best treatment. Staging may involve testing such as ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. After testing is complete your doctor will go over treatment options with you. These include surgery, arterial embolization, radiation therapy, biological therapy, or chemotherapy.

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