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Kidney Cancer

Causes and Risk Factors for Kidney Cancer

No one knows the exact cause of kidney cancer, and doctors can seldom explain why one person will get a disease and another person will not. Kidney cancer research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop the disease. A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chances of developing a medical condition. Risk factors do not cause kidney cancer; however, they may act together to increase the risk of developing it.
Specific risk factors for this type of cancer include:
  • Smoking
  • Having high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Being male
  • Being obese
  • Undergoing long-term dialysis
  • Having hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma
  • Having von Hippel-Lindau syndrome (a rare hereditary disease)
  • Occupational exposure to such things as blast furnaces, coke ovens, asbestos, and cadmium
  • Misusing certain pain medicines (including over-the-counter drugs) for a long time.
(Click Kidney Cancer Risk Factors for more information.)

Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

In the early stages, there may not be any symptoms of the disease. However, as the tumor grows, common kidney cancer symptoms can include:
  • Blood in the urine (making it appear slightly rusty to deep red)
  • Weight loss
  • Pain in the side that does not go away
  • Fever
  • A lump or mass in the side or the abdomen (stomach)
  • Feeling very tired or having a general feeling of poor health.
However, keep in mind that these symptoms are not sure signs of kidney cancer. Other health problems, such as infection, a cyst, or another problem, can also cause them. People who have possible signs or symptoms of the disease should see their healthcare provider as soon as possible -- only a doctor can diagnose and treat the problem.

(Click Kidney Cancer Symptoms for more information.)
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