Kidney cancer - causes, symptoms and treatment

 An overview of kidney cancer

What are the two kidneys?

The two kidneys, referred to as two bean-shaped organs, are located under the rib cage near the middle of the back. 

Most people have two kidneys, each about the size of a fist, located on either side of the spine.

Kidney cancer - causes, symptoms and treatment

What is the function of the kidneys in the human body?

The kidneys perform four main functions in the body:

Maintaining fluid balance in the body

Getting rid of excess waste

Regulating and regulating blood pressure

Secretion of hormones that the body needs to make blood and to maintain bone strength. Hormones are chemical secretions that stimulate or control the activity of body cells and organs.

The blood passes through the kidneys to purify it before returning to the heart, as it enters the kidneys through the renal arteries. 

In the kidneys, there are millions of structural units called nephrons, which mainly filter the blood and get rid of waste and harmful fluids in it. 

The kidneys also produce urine, which is excess fluid and waste products that have been filtered from the blood. 

The urine travels to the bladder through two tubes, one of which is known as the ureter. The bladder is a balloon-like bag for storing urine. 

The bladder gets rid of the fluid stored in it through the process of urination through a tube known as the urethra.

The kidneys regulate blood pressure by controlling the amount of water in the blood, that is, controlling the density of the blood, where the increase in blood density indicates the 

presence of many fluids in the heart that it must pump, which leads to placing greater pressure on the walls of blood vessels, which leads to high blood pressure. 

The kidneys control the density of the blood by secreting a specific and special hormone, as well as by changing the balance of specific chemicals, including potassium and sodium.

The kidneys also secrete several important hormones, including:

Erythropoietin: This hormone stimulates the bone marrow to make red blood cells. The bone marrow refers to the soft spongy tissue inside the large bones of the body, where red blood cells are made that carry oxygen to the cells of the body.

Renin: regulates blood pressure.

Calcitriol hormone: This hormone stimulates the large and small intestines to absorb calcium from the foods we eat, and it is one of the minerals responsible for maintaining healthy teeth and bones.

What is kidney cancer?

Kidney cancer refers to the abnormal growth of kidney tissue cells. Over time, these cells form a mass called a tumor. 

Cancer develops when something stimulates these cells to change, and they begin to divide irregularly. 

A malignant tumor can grow, metastasize, and spread to other vital tissues and organs in the body.

What are the types of kidney cancer?

The information provided in this publication refers to renal cell carcinoma, as it is one of the most common types of kidney cancer. Kidney cancer is classified into types, including:

Kidney cell carcinoma: It is the most common type of kidney cancer among adults and accounts for 85% of kidney cancer cases in general

Kidney cell carcinoma usually arises from a single tumor in one kidney, but it can affect both kidneys. 

The disease begins in the cells that line the small tubes that are part of the nephrons inside the kidneys

Transitional cell carcinoma: This type of cancer accounts for approximately 6-7% of all cancer cases. 

This disease usually begins in the area where the ureter meets the main part of the kidney, and this area is called the kidney pelvis, and this disease may affect the ureter or the bladder.

Renal sarcoma (a malignant soft tissue tumor): This type of kidney cancer is very rare and accounts for 1% of infections, as it affects the connective kidney tissues initially, and if this cancer is not treated, it may spread to other organs Proximal and bone as well.

Wilms' tumor: This type of kidney cancer is the most common in children, and accounts for 5% of all types of kidney cancer.

What are the symptoms of kidney cancer?

Kidney cancer may not cause any noticeable symptoms in its early stages, but it begins to appear when the cancerous tumor grows, which is why kidney cancer is not diagnosed until its advanced stages after it has begun to spread and metastasize. Symptoms of the disease include:

The appearance of blood in the urine, this condition is called hematuria

A tumor or mass appears in the kidney area

Feeling pain in the side of the abdomen

feeling tired

Feeling generally unwell

Loss of appetite sometimes accompanied by weight loss

A mild degree of fever

Feeling pain in the bones


Anemia that results from not having enough red blood cells

What are the causes of kidney cancer?

The main cause of kidney cancer is not known, but several factors that contribute to the disease have been detected. 

The catalyst for infection is either characteristics, traits, or behavior that increase the likelihood of developing the disease. 

Among the factors that stimulate and enhance the incidence of the disease are the following:

Smoking: Smokers are more likely to develop kidney cancer, and the longer they smoke, the greater the risk of developing the disease.

Obesity: It is considered one of the risk factors for developing kidney cancer, as the risk of developing it increases with the increase in the individual’s weight steadily.

High blood pressure: Also known as high blood pressure, it is directly linked to an increased risk of kidney cancer

Family health history: Having a family member with kidney cancer increases the risk that other family members will develop the disease.

Radiation exposure: The risk of kidney cancer is higher in women who undergo radiotherapy when they have cancer of the reproductive organs.

Changes in hereditary genes (genetic mutations): Inherited genes contain functional instructions for the cells of the body, and changes in certain genes increase the risk of another 

method of treatment involves giving drugs that activate the immune system in the body's immune system to fight and eliminate the cancerous tumor.

Some affected people participate in clinical trials, known as patient-targeted research programs, to test and evaluate the effectiveness of new treatments, drugs, or medical devices. 

Clinical trials are also underway on new chemotherapy drugs, as well as new approaches to biological treatment for kidney cancer patients.

What is the outlook for people with kidney cancer?

The chance of a cure depends on the type and stage of cancer if the cancer is only in the kidneys or has spread to surrounding organs or tissues in the body. The chance of recovery also depends on the general health of the patient.

As with other types of cancer, the chance of kidney cancer being cured and curable increases when it is detected and diagnosed in its early stages, as the patient is generally curable and recoverable before the disease spreads outside the tissue surrounding the kidney.

Is it possible to prevent kidney cancer?

It is not possible to prevent kidney cancer, because the exact cause of its infection is not known, but it is possible to avoid some of the risk factors that threaten its infection, including quitting smoking and not being exposed to asbestos and cadmium.​

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