Kidney cancer begins in the kidneys and occurs when healthy cells in one (or both) kidneys grow out of control and form a tumor. As with any form of cancer, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms so that you can catch it early on—the earlier it is caught, the easier it is to manage and beat. In this article, we will share some symptoms of kidney cancer that you should watch out for as well as some treatment options, including OPDIVO (nivolumab), YERVOY (ipilimumab), INLYTA (axitinib). Read on to better inform and educate yourself:
1. Blood in the urine
With kidney cancer, you may notice blood in your urine in a pink, red, or red-brown color. This is known as haematuria and it is the most common symptom of kidney cancer. This can also be caused by infections, kidney stones, or other issues, but regardless of what it is, blood in urine should always raise concern and you should visit your doctor immediately.
2. Lower back pain
Your kidneys are located on either side of your spine, and although back pain is a common issue for many people, it may be a sign of kidney cancer. This can occur due to tumor growth causing pressure and blocking urine drainage, resulting in discomfort. This pain may feel like a constant, dull ache and can be severe and sharp in waves. Pain may also be felt in your rib cage or abdomen.
Having a tumor can make you feel fatigued. This may be a result of developed anemia caused by the cancer or due to the cancer cells competing with healthy cells for nutrients. Fatigue is chronic tiredness that doesn’t just go away with a nap or a good night’s rest, so if you’ve been feeling weak and tired persistently, you should talk to your doctor.
4. Fever and/or night sweats
When your body is trying to fight cancer, you may develop a fever. The fever may also be a result of hormone changes due to the cancer. As with any fever, your body may sweat excessively to try and cool down, and in some cases you can experience night sweats (repeated episodes of excessive sweating during sleep). When treatment begins, night sweats can be a side effect of chemotherapy.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should visit your doctor immediately to determine the cause. If you are diagnosed with kidney cancer, your doctor may prescribe you with cancer-fighting medications, such as OPDIVO (nivolumab), YERVOY (ipilimumab), INLYTA (axitinib). The type of treatment will depend on the type of cancer; in the case of kidney cancer there are several types, with the most common in adults being renal cell cancer. Often, the above listed medications may be prescribed to work in combination as a first-line treatment.
Other treatments include removal of part of or whole kidney, radiation therapy, surgeries, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, ablation, and more. It will depend on the stage of cancer you have. If you or someone you love is suffering from cancer, be sure to speak to your healthcare provider about treatment options and best ways to support.
If you’re interested in making donations for cancer, you can support groundbreaking research and support those in need—look into the American Cancer Society or other verified cancer charities.