Is there a connection between Kidney Cancer and Chronic Kidney Disease?
More than 330,000 new kidney cancer (renal cancer) cases occur every year, making it one of the most common cancers worldwide.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) on the other hand, is the gradual loss of kidney function (filtering wastes and excess fluids from the blood which are then removed from the body through the urine).
Kidneys are vital to the body but that does not mean they are not at risk of developing cancer. Like other organs in the human body, kidneys can also develop cancer.
Link between Kidney Cancer and Chronic Kidney Disease.
According to some studies, people with kidney disease may have a higher risk of kidney cancer while about one third of those who survive kidney cancer have or will develop kidney disease. Why is this? Here are some reasons:
- Nephrectomy: This is surgery done to the kidney and can put renal cancer patients at risk of developing kidney disease. If the tumour is small, it is better to remove the tumour only. However, if the tumour is large, removing the entire kidney is advisable.
- Long-term dialysis: People on long-term dialysis are said to be at a higher risk of kidney cancer. However, experts believe the higher risk of kidney cancer in people undergoing dialysis is due to kidney disease and not the dialysis.
- Immunosuppressant medicines: Immunosuppressant medicines are important for people who have gone through a transplant. If a person does not take these drugs after kidney transplant, for instance, their body will probably reject the new kidney. However, these medicines can increase the risk of kidney cancer.
Not everyone with kidney cancer will develop kidney disease and in the same way, not everyone who has kidney disease will get kidney cancer. It is, therefore, advisable to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about what you can do to reduce your risk of developing kidney problems.
Other Risk factors for Kidney problems include:
- Exposure to harmful substances like asbestos
- Exposure to radiation
- Long-term use of pain-relieving drugs like phenacetin
- Certain health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and Glomerulonephritis.
Some of the symptoms that may indicate a kidney problem are:
- Back pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blood in the urine
- Intermittent fever
- Swelling of the ankles and feet
- High blood pressure
Living a healthy lifestyle is crucial to your kidney health; do not smoke, eat a healthy diet, avoid excessive consumption of alcohol and avoid taking over-the-counter drugs, among other practices that can help you reduce the risk of developing kidney health problems.