Understanding Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer rarely finds its way into conversation. Yet kidney cancer is the eleventh most common type of cancer in men in Switzerland. Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is by far the most common type of kidney cancer, accounting for about 90 percent of all kidney cancer cases. It is typically diagnosed by accident, during imaging tests for some other illness or symptom. The average age at diagnosis is 64 years. Most kidney tumors are discovered in their early stages. Nevertheless, around 30% of patients present with metastatic kidney cancer at the time of initial diagnosis. Recent advances in oncology have led to the availability of several treatment options to increase the survival rate of these patients.

1000

In Switzerland, about 1000 new cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed each year. About 300 people die of kidney cancer every year.

The disease ratio of men to women is 2 : 1.

400000

Worldwide, there were an estimated 400,000 new cases of kidney cancer and 175,000 deaths from the disease in 2018.
By 2040, the number of new cases of kidney cancer is expected to increase to nearly 650,000 a year and the number of deaths to more than 300,000 a year.

Signs and symptoms

Early kidney cancers usually do not cause any signs or symptoms, but larger ones might.

Some possible signs and symptoms of kidney cancer include:

blood in the urine

low back pain on one side (not caused by injury)

a mass (lump) on the side or lower back

fatigue

loss of appetite

weight loss not caused by dieting

fever that is not caused by an infection and that doesn’t go away

anemia (low red blood cell counts).

Risk factors

Multiple risk factors for RCC have been identified. It is believed that several factors are jointly responsible for the development of kidney cancer. Smoking and obesity are considered to be possible main risk factors.

Other risk factors include:

  • high blood pressure
  • family history of kidney cancer
  • insufficient liquid absorption
  • gender (men are more likely affected than women)
  • workplace exposures, e.g. certain industrial chemicals
  • increased consumption of alcohol or painkillers.

Prevention

In many cases, the cause of kidney cancer is not known. In some other cases (such as with inherited conditions), even when the cause is known it may not be preventable. You may reduce the risk for developing kidney cancer by stopping to smoke and maintaining a healthy body weight.

In Switzerland, kidney cancer is the 11th most common cancer.
A healthy lifestyle may help to reduce the risk of developing kidney cancer.

In Switzerland, kidney cancer is the 11th most common cancer.
A healthy lifestyle may help to reduce the risk of developing kidney cancer.


CH-NON-00633, 06/2020