Kidney Cancer

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Kidney cancer usually occurs in people ages 50 to 70 years old, and its cause is unknown. Sometimes involving both kidneys, kidney cancer spreads easily — most often to the lungs and other organs. In fact, about one-third of patients diagnosed with kidney cancer have metastasized kidney cancer (kidney cancer that has spread to another part of the body). Fortunately, Norton Cancer Institute’s advanced treatment options and support services are providing hope for those battling kidney cancer.

Understanding Kidney Cancer

The most common type of kidney cancer in adults is renal cell carcinoma. This type of kidney cancer is made up of cancerous cells in the lining of very small tubes within the kidney. It is not clear what causes renal cell carcinoma, though it is more common in men than in women. In its early stages, kidney cancer rarely shows any signs or symptoms.

One of the best ways to prevent kidney cancer is to quit smoking. Smokers have a greater risk of kidney cancer than nonsmokers do, but the risk decreases after you quit. It is also important to follow your health care provider’s recommendations in the treatment of kidney disorders, especially those that may require dialysis.

Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

If you believe you are at high-risk for kidney cancer, you should consult your doctor. Symptoms of kidney cancer include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal urine color (dark, rusty or brown)
  • Back pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Emaciated, thin, malnourished appearance
  • Enlargement of one testicle
  • Flank pain
  • Swelling or enlargement of the abdomen
  • Unintentional weight loss of more than 5 percent of body weight
  • Constipation
  • Cold intolerance
  • Excessive hair growth in females
  • Paleness
  • Vision abnormalities

Diagnosing Kidney Cancer

If you or your physician suspects you may have kidney cancer, one or more of the following tests may be performed:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
  • Kidney X-ray
  • Liver function tests
  • Renal arteriogram
  • Serum calcium
  • SGPT and alkaline phosphatase
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen and kidney
  • Urine cytology
  • Urine test

Sometimes both kidneys are involved. The cancer spreads easily, most often to the lungs and other organs. About one-third of patients have spreading (metastasis) at the time of diagnosis. The following tests may be performed to determine if the cancer has spread:

  • Abdominal CT scan
  • Abdominal MRI
  • Bone scan
  • Chest X-ray
Genitourinary Cancer Team

Why Choose Norton Cancer Institute

More patients in Louisville and Southern Indiana choose Norton Cancer Institute than any other provider in the area. We provide compassionate care for the whole person, not just the cancer.

Our Norton Cancer Institute oncologists are also researchers and principal investigators, offering patients sophisticated experience in the latest treatments and access to more than 200 clinical trials.

  • Access to more than 100 specialists, including board-certified and fellowship-trained oncologists
  • Multidisciplinary setting, meaning you get the benefit of opinions from multiple specialists across Norton Healthcare and often can schedule appointments for the same day in the same location
  • Immunotherapies such as CAR-T cell therapy, genetic therapies tailored to combat the unique genetic makeup of your cancer and the latest in surgical treatments, chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • State-of-the-art Norton Cancer Institute Genomics Lab offering highly specialized testing that makes it possible to tailor advanced treatments based on a tumor’s specific genetic composition
  • Robotic-assisted bronchoscopy for minimally invasive lung biopsies that can reach more parts of the lung without major surgery
  • Medicare, Medicaid and most major commercial insurance accepted
  • At Norton Specialty Pharmacy, patients receive regular consultations on their medications and treatment plan, making sure they get their prescriptions quickly and accurately. Our specialty pharmacists collaborate closely with your oncology team.
  • Use your free Norton MyChart account to communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions, get on the wait list for an earlier appointment and more anytime from a mobile device or computer

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