Kidney cancer is also known as renal cancer, and it is one of the most common types of cancer, usually appearing in adult patients around their 60 years old. There are various types of kidney cancer, and the most common is called renal cell carcinoma, and it starts to develops in the proximal convoluted tubule, a very small structure in the kidney that handles blood filtrate to produce urine.
Kidney cancer is more common in long-term dialysis patients and people with a familiar background, and even more common if they smoke and have a body mass index above 30. Thus, prevention of this type of cancer in people with a genetic predisposition or undergoing long-term dialysis should include controlling their weight and stop smoking. Still, it is recommended to perform routine check-ups to detect cancer at an early stage.
Symptoms are not usually apparent during the early stages, and they include the following:
Low back pain
In kidney cancer, low back pain is not always the first symptom to appear, but it is listed first because it is commonly found in around half of the patients with kidney cancer, and it points out at a late stage of the disease. In some cases, patients would maintain a long history of back pain without performing a routine check-up. They may think this type of pain is associated with kidney stones, but kidney cancer is slowly developing and becoming a large mass throughout the years.
Low back pain is likely to be caused by nerve involvement as the tumor grows larger. However, it may also appear as a late complication when kidney cancer causes an obstruction to the urine ducts. In this case, water accumulates in the kidney making it swell and giving rise to a painful condition called hydronephrosis. In advanced cases, cancer tissue may also take and destroy the adjacent vertebrae, causing back pain and propensity to spinal fractures.