The kidneys are a pair of organs found just above the waist on either side of the spine. As part of the urinary tract, they filter waste out of the blood and make urine. They also make substances which help control blood pressure and control the creation of red blood cells. The most common symptom of kidney cancer is blood in the urine. Other signs include a dull pain in the back, side, or abdomen, a lump that can be felt in the kidney area, unexplained weight loss, urinary urgency, painful urination, weakness, a fever that comes and goes, and high blood pressure. It is recommended that you see a doctor if you have any of these symptoms. The causes of kidney cancer are unknown, but the risks seem to be increased by tobacco use, heavy, long-term use of certain pain killers, working with certain industrial substances such as asbestos, chemicals and dyes, and obesity. Kidney cancer is best treated by removal of the diseased organ. Since most kidney cancers affect only one organ, the patient can function well with the remaining one. Even if cancer affects both kidneys, the tumors may be removed while still maintaining sufficient functioning kidney tissue. Trials with vaccines are promising, although still experimental. For more information on kidney cancer, talk with your health care professional.
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