The human body has two kidneys that filter blood of waste and excrete it out of the body as urine. When abnormal growth of kidney cells occurs it is called a kidney tumor. The tumor may be limited to its origin, or may affect the entire organ and spread to the neighboring tissues and lymph vessels. Smoking, hypertension, obesity and a family history of kidney cancer may increase the risk of developing cancerous cells.
Tumors of the kidney may not produce symptoms immediately, but may be detected during the evaluation of another problem or during a regular check-up. The spread of the tumor into the neighboring organs causes symptoms such as blood in the urine, fever, anemia and tiredness, high blood calcium and blood pressure. Depending on the organ it spreads to, kidney cancer can cause other related symptoms.
Tumors of the kidney and the extent of spread can be confirmed using blood tests and imaging tests such as ultrasound scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and X-rays. Early diagnosis helps doctors design the best treatment. Treatment may include surgery (to remove the tumor), radiotherapy (use of radiation to kill cancer cells), immunotherapy (use of medications to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer cells) or a combination of treatments.