What Should You Know About Renal Cell Carcinoma

March 10, 2021 by Marlow Hoffman

In recognition of World Kidney Day, find out what you should know about this serious disease and when you should consider getting a second medical opinion.

Renal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer. It develops inside tiny tubes called tubules that filter and clean our blood. Our kidneys remove waste products, release hormones that regulate our blood pressure, support strong bones, control the production of red blood cells, and much more. 

What causes Renal Cell Carcinoma?  

The causes of kidney cancer, such as Renal Cell Carcinoma, are often unknown or unpreventable. Some factors that increase your risk of getting the disease include older age and a family history of renal cell cancer. Hereditary syndromes such as Birt-Hoff-Dube syndrome, von Hippel-Lindau disease, tuberous sclerosis complex, and hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma can also play a role. 

What can you do to reduce your risk of getting Renal Cell Carcinoma?  

While factors like the ones above are out of your control, the American Cancer Society notes that there are steps you can take to reduce your risk:

  • If you smoke, ditch the habit.
  • Maintain a healthy weight, as obesity is a key culprit of kidney disease.
  • Manage high blood pressure, another culprit of kidney disease.
  • Exercise and incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet.
  • Don’t abuse over-the-counter pain medications. 
  • Steer clear of a harmful substance called trichloroethylene that is known to cause kidney cancer. 

Understanding the symptoms of Kidney Cancer

While Renal Cell Carcinoma and other forms of kidney cancer usually don’t show symptoms early on, the National Cancer Institute advises contacting your doctor if you see the following signs:

  • Blood in your urine.
  • A lump in your abdomen.
  • Side pain that doesn’t go away. 
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss with no known cause.
  • Anemia.

When should you get a second medical opinion for Renal Cell Carcinoma?

It’s a good idea to get a second opinion from a leading specialist for any cancer diagnosis. A second opinion from high-quality doctors and medical centers often reduces diagnostic error. While some kidney cancer cases are aggressive and require immediate action, usually, there’s enough time to consider your decision carefully. With so many diagnostic approaches and treatment options for kidney cancer, getting a second opinion from a leading physician specialist can offer you peace of mind and reassurance about your decision. 

The American Cancer Society also recommends getting a second opinion in the following scenarios: 

  • You want to be sure you’ve explored all options.
  • You think your doctor is underestimating how serious your cancer is.
  • Your doctor is not sure what’s wrong with you.
  • You have a rare or unusual form of cancer.
  • You think another treatment might be available.
  • Your doctor is not a specialist in your type of cancer.
  • Your doctor is uncertain about the type or stage of cancer you have.
  • Your doctor gives you multiple treatment options.
  • You are having trouble understanding and communicating with your doctor, or you want someone else to explain your options.
  • You want peace of mind that you have the correct diagnosis and that you are making the right treatment choice.
  • Your insurance company asks you to get another opinion before you begin treatment.

Have you been diagnosed with kidney cancer or another serious illness? 

MORE Health can connect you with leading medical experts for a remote second medical opinion. The service is offered as an employee benefit or on an individual case basis. Contact us for more information.

In recognition of National Kidney Month, check out our next blog about Chronic Kidney Disease and what you can do to keep your kidneys in tip-top shape.

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