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Kidney Cancer

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For unknown reasons, the incidence of kidney cancer seems to be rising. In 2011, more than 56,000 Americans were diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma.

What is kidney cancer?

While there are different types of cancer that start in the kidneys, renal cell carcinoma, which forms in the lining of the kidney tubules, is the most common type.

Who develops kidney cancer?

Children are more likely to develop another type of kidney cancer, Wilms’ tumor. Renal cell carcinoma most often occurs in men between the ages of 50 and 70. It’s also more common in those who:

  • receive dialysis treatment
  • have a family history of kidney cancer
  • smoke
  • have a genetic predisposition, such as Von Hippel-Lindau disease

What are the symptoms of kidney cancer?

Symptoms of kidney cancer include:

  • abdominal pain and swelling
  • back pain
  • blood in the urine
  • new onset swelling of the veins around a testicle
  • unexplained weight loss
  • vision problems

How is kidney cancer diagnosed?

A physical exam can reveal more obvious signs of kidney cancer, including swelling of the abdomen or in the veins of the scrotum. Radiographic testing with ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans often are used to diagnose kidney cancer.

How is kidney cancer treated?

Treatment for kidney cancer varies depending on a variety of factors, including the tumor’s size, whether the cancer has spread and your age and individual health. Treatment options may include a combination of surgery (including minimally invasive robotic surgery), biological therapy (medications that help the immune system kill cancer cells) and targeted therapy (medications that target cancer-causing gene changes in cells).

The Valley Hospital offers comprehensive kidney cancer treatment through its Urologic Oncology Center. For more information or to make an appointment, call 201-634-5567.

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