Kidney Cancer

At a Glance

  • The kidneys are a pair of organs the size of a fist on either side of the spine behind the abdominal organs. The kidneys filter blood and remove waste several times a day, creating urine that’s passed to the bladder. They help to regulate electrolytes and control the fluid balance in the body.
  • Risk factors for kidney cancer include age, being male, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, chemicals in the workplace or use of prolonged pain medication. Also at risk are those with a family history of kidney cancer or certain genetic conditions.
  • Symptoms of later stages of kidney cancer include pain in the abdomen, weight loss, blood in the urine and a fever.
  • Treatments for kidney cancer include surgery, targeted therapy, radiation, and biologic therapy.

About Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer originates in the kidneys and can be either renal cell carcinoma or renal pelvis carcinoma, which are more common in adults. Renal cell carcinoma forms in the lining of tiny tubes in the kidneys that filter blood and waste. Renal pelvis carcinoma forms in the center of the kidney. Young children under the age of five are more likely to develop Wilms’ tumor, a type of kidney cancer. Estimated new cases and deaths from kidney cancer in the United States in 2013 are 65,150 and 13,680 respectively.

Risk Factors

Risk factors that may increase the chance of developing kidney cancer include:
  • Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of developing renal cell carcinoma.
  • Obesity: Those who are overweight have a higher risk of kidney cancer due to a change in hormones that can occur as well as high blood pressure that can also increase your risk.
  • Chemicals in the workplace: Workers exposed to chemicals such as asbestos and cadmium on a daily basis have an increased risk of developing kidney cancer.
  • Genetic conditions: People with inherited conditions such as hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma or Von Hippel-Lindau disease are likely to develop tumors and kidney cancer in the future.
  • Family history of kidney cancer: If you have a family history of kidney cancer and the risk is especially high in siblings.
Request an appointment or contact us to learn more about kidney cancer. Diablo Valley oncology is a partner with Pacific Urology providing comprehensive diagnosis and treatment options for kidney cancer patients in San Francisco’s East Bay Area.