by Max Westerman | Updated January 25, 2021
What is kidney cancer?
The answer starts with your kidneys, the two bean-shaped organs in your abdomen. Healthy kidneys are primarily tasked with waste removal and fluid regulation through urine. Additionally, they regulate key minerals in your body like sodium and potassium, they release hormones that control the function of several other organs, they control the production of red blood cells, they remove drugs from the body, they promote bone health, and they control the production of red blood cells (National Kidney Foundation). Having at least one of these organs is vital for maintaining human health, and the cells that make up the organ are all designed to perform that same function.
However, when the growth of any form of cells goes unchecked by the body’s natural ways to maintain a certain healthy range, a tumor will form. Some tumors are benign and won’t spread to other parts of the body. However, in some cases, the tumor is malignant, and cancer starts to form. It starts in the kidneys; a tumor of cancer cells, formally named Renal Cell Carcinoma in most cases of this cancer, will begin to grow off the organ before replicating and spreading to other parts of your body, a process known as metastasis (Mayo Clinic, 2020). Renal Cell Carcinoma can be treated, but there is currently no cure for Kidney Cancer and it unfortunately can be fatal.
Common symptoms associated with Kidney Cancer are helpful to know when identifying the disease. Victims suffering this disease can have bloody urine, a constant pain in your side or back that won’t relieve itself, appetite loss, unexplained weight loss, tiredness (or lethargy), fever, or some combination of the above symptoms (Mayo Clinic, 2020). Their severity increases with the stage the cancer has progressed to, with this disease having a survival rate of 8%, should it progress to Stage 4. Kidney cancer is not a contagious disease; this means you can come into contact with a loved one suffering from this illness and not catch it as a result.
When you or a love one suffers from Kidney Cancer, day-to-day things may become more difficult to carry out and assistance will be needed. This is perfectly normal and we encourage those suffering from this ailment to reach out to loved ones and other organizations (like our own) for support and assistance during these times.
While cancer is stigmatized as a very scary and deadly disease, many victims of Kidney Cancer (or Cancer in general) are able to fight it and win. It’s important to never lose hope in this situation, regardless of what relationship you may have with an affected person. It may be life saving.
If you would like to help those in our community suffering from a battle with Kidney Cancer, get involved by attending one of our events or making a kind donation in the name of aiding the fight against this disease.
Kidney basics. National Kidney Foundation. 2020 Sep 29 [accessed 2021 Jan 18]. https://www.kidney.org/kidney-basics
Kidney cancer. Mayo Clinic. 2020 Jun 25 [accessed 2021 Jan 18]. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/kidney-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20352664