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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% of body weight
  • Other symptoms that can occur with this disease:
  • Constipation
  • Cold intolerance
  • Excessive hair growth in females
  • Paleness
  • Vision abnormalities

Detecting 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

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