The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located in the abdominal area. They function to remove waste products from the body by converting waste into urine, which then flows into the bladder for elimination. Kidney cancer occurs when kidney cells grow abnormally. The cause of this abnormal growth is unknown, but this type of cancer affects an estimated 50,000 Americans each year.
The most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma, although transitional cell carcinoma and Wilms’ tumor (mostly affecting children) kidney cancers also exist.
Kidney Cancer Symptoms
In its earliest stage, cancer of the kidneys does not present any symptoms. However, later stage patients may experience:
Back and/or abdominal pain
Dark, rust or brown colored urine
Blood in urine
Those at highest risk for this type of cancer are older males who are smokers. Obesity and high blood pressure also are risk factors.