Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They're located behind your abdominal organs, one on each side of your spine. Like other major organs in the body, the kidneys can sometimes develop cancer. Your kidneys are part of the urinary system, which removes waste and excess fluid and electrolytes from your blood, controls the production of red blood cells, and regulates your blood pressure. Inside each kidney are more than a million small filtering units called nephrons. As blood circulates through your kidneys, the nephrons filter out waste products as well as unneeded minerals and water. This liquid waste — urine — flows through two narrow tubes (ureters) into your bladder, where it's stored until it's eliminated from your body through another tube, the urethra. Just what causes kidney cells to become cancerous isn't clear. But researchers have identified certain factors that appear to increase the risk of kidney cancer. In adults, the most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma, which begins in the cells that line the small tubes within your kidneys. Children are more likely to develop a kind of kidney cancer called Wilms' tumor. The American Cancer Society estimates that almost 51,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year. The incidence of kidney cancer seems to be increasing, though it isn't clear why. Many kidney cancers are detected during procedures for other diseases or conditions. Imaging techniques, such as computerized tomography (CT), are being used more often, which may help find more kidney cancers.
Assessment -- Signs & Sympotms:
Ask your patient if any of the following are true, during your assessment:
* Blood in your urine, which may appear pink, red or cola-colored * Back pain just below the ribs that doesn't go away
* Weight loss
* Intermittent fever
Types of kidney cancer :
The most common types of kidney cancer include:
* Renal cell carcinoma. This type of kidney cancer usually begins in the cells that line the small tubes of each nephron. In most cases, renal cell tumors grow as a single mass, but you may have more than one tumor in a kidney or develop tumors in both kidneys. * Transitional cell carcinoma. This type of kidney cancer develops in the tissue that forms the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. Transitional cell carcinomas can also begin in the ureters themselves or in the bladder. * Wilms' tumor. Wilms' tumor is a type of kidney cancer that occurs in young children.
Renal Cell Carcinoma:
The majority of kidney cancers are renal cell carcinomas. Risk factors for renal cell carcinoma include: * Age. Your risk of renal cell carcinoma increases as you age. Renal cell carcinoma occurs most commonly in people 60 and older. * Sex. Men are more likely to develop renal cell carcinoma than women are. * Smoking. Smokers have a greater risk of renal cell carcinoma than nonsmokers do. The risk increases the longer you smoke and decreases after you quit. * Obesity. People who are obese have a higher risk of renal cell carcinoma than do people who are considered average weight. * High blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure increases your risk of renal cell carcinoma, but it isn't clear why. Some research in animals has linked high blood pressure medications to an increased risk of kidney cancer, but studies in people have had conflicting results. * Chemicals in your workplace. Workers who are exposed to certain chemicals on the job may have a higher risk of renal cell carcinoma. People who work with chemicals such as asbestos, cadmium and trichloroethylene may have an increased risk of kidney cancer. * Treatment for kidney failure. People who receive long-term dialysis to treat chronic kidney failure have a greater risk of developing kidney cancer. People who have a kidney transplant and...
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