Our Houston area urologists treat a variety of conditions and illnesses

Kidney Cancer

What to Know About Kidney Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Kidney cancer, or renal cell carcinoma, starts in the cells of the kidneys – the bean-shaped organs that remove waste from the body, filter the blood and keep the body’s fluid in balance. When the kidney cells grow and change, it causes malignant tumors. Our Houston urologists diagnose and treat cancer in the kidneys using the most advanced, least invasive techniques possible. Patients can rely on our exceptional staff and compassionate physicians when they are dealing with cancer. 

Risk factors for developing kidney cancer

There are several risk factors for renal cancer, including age, ethnic heritage and gender assigned at birth. Here are some things that increase a patient’s chances of developing the disease. 

  • Being male — Men are twice as likely to get kidney cancer than women. 
  • Age — The most common ages for developing the disease are 65 to 74. 
  • Ethnic heritage — This type of cancer is more common in Native Americans and African Americans. 

Here are some other risk factors that involve lifestyle, health conditions, and medical and family history. 

  • Smoking 
  • Obesity 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Family history of kidney cancer 
  • Receiving long-term dialysis for chronic kidney failure 
  • Women who have had radiation therapy for reproductive organs may have a slightly higher risk 
  • Hereditary syndromes, including Von Hippel-Lindau disease and tuberous sclerosis complex 

Symptoms of kidney cancer

Often, renal cell carcinoma doesn’t cause any noticeable signs or symptoms in the early stages, but symptoms develop over time. Patients should contact our Houston urologists if they notice any of the following. 

  • Red, pink or cola-colored blood in the urine 
  • A mass or lump in the kidneys or kidney area 
  • Persistent pain in the back or side 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Unexpected weight loss 
  • Pain in the bones 
  • Tiredness 
  • Feeling unwell 
  • Fever 
  • Anemia 
  • High calcium 

Diagnosing renal cancer

Kidney cancer causes symptoms that could also indicate other problems, so it’s important for patients to get an expert diagnosis. As they start their diagnostic process, our physicians order basic tests, such as urinalysis, blood chemistry tests, a complete blood count and a chest X-ray. After they receive those findings, they may order additional imaging studies, including a CT scan, MRI scan or ultrasound. Some patients require a kidney biopsy to determine whether they have cancer.  

Our skilled Houston urologists provide state-of-the-art treatment  

When patients are dealing with renal cancer, they need the finest surgeons with the most advanced training. Our physicians are always learning and updating their techniques and medical procedures to ensure that patients receive the most up-to-date treatment. Whether it’s tumor ablation, radiation treatment, targeted therapy or surgery, we provide patients with top-level care. People who are concerned about cancer in themselves or their loved ones should contact us for an appointment today.