Symptoms Of Kidney Cancer
The most common sign of kidney cancer is blood in the urine , which may appear rusty or dark red. Other symptoms of kidney cancer may include:
- Low back pain, or persistent pressure on one side
- Mass or lump on the side or lower back
- Unexplained weight loss
- Testicle swelling
- Unexplained fevers that come and go
- Swelling of the legs or ankles
- High blood pressure
Kidney cancer symptoms for females are the same as kidney cancer symptoms for males. Although these symptoms may indicate a kidney tumor, they also may be caused by other, less serious health issues. Some kidney cancer patients experience none of these signs, and others experience different symptoms entirely.
Coping With The Diagnosis
Being diagnosed with cancer can be very distressing. The news can be difficult to take in and make sense of.
Talking to your friends or family may help, although you might also find it useful to speak to a counsellor, a psychiatrist or other people in a similar situation to you.
Cancer UK has more information and advice on coping with kidney cancer.
Page last reviewed: 03 December 2019 Next review due: 03 December 2022
Specialized Evaluation And Prenatal Care
If echogenic kidneys are diagnosed during pregnancy, you may be referred to a fetal center for further evaluation and additional testing.
At Texas Childrens Fetal Center, we arrange for you to visit as quickly as possible for a comprehensive assessment by a team of specialists experienced in evaluating echogenic kidneys and diagnosing and treating congenital kidney conditions. Team members include maternal-fetal medicine physicians , fetal imaging experts, pediatric nephrologists and urologists, geneticists and genetic counselors, and neonatologists.
Additional testing may include:
- Amniocentesis and chromosomal analysis to identify any chromosomal anomalies
- Fetal bladder tap to obtain a urine sample and evaluate your babys kidney function
Following this thorough evaluation, our specialists will meet with you about the results and answer any questions your family has, to help you make the most informed decisions regarding your babys care and treatment.
A diagnosis of echogenic kidneys during pregnancy enables your family and your healthcare team to plan ahead for the specialized treatment and expertise your baby may need at birth, optimizing outcomes.
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How Do The Kidneys Work
The body takes nutrients from food and converts them to energy. Afterthe body has taken the food that it needs, waste products are leftbehind in the bowel and in the blood.
The kidneys and urinary system keep chemicals, such as potassium andsodium, and water in balance, and remove a type of waste, called urea,from the blood. Urea is produced when foods containing protein, such asmeat, poultry, and certain vegetables, are broken down in the body.Urea is carried in the bloodstream to the kidneys.
Two kidneys, a pair of purplish-brown organs, are located below theribs toward the middle of the back. Their function is to:
Remove liquid waste from the blood in the form of urine
Keep a stable balance of salts and other substances in the blood
Produce erythropoietin, a hormone that aids the formation of red blood cells
Regulate blood pressure
The kidneys remove urea from the blood through tiny filtering unitscalled nephrons. Each nephron consists of a ball formed of small bloodcapillaries, called a glomerulus, and a small tube called a renaltubule.
Urea, together with water and other waste substances, forms the urineas it passes through the nephrons and down the renal tubules of thekidney.
What Happens During A Kidney Ultrasound
A kidney ultrasound may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part ofyour stay in a hospital. Although each facility may have differentprotocols in place, generally an ultrasound procedure follows this process:
You will be asked to remove any clothing, jewelry, or other objects that may interfere with the scan.
If asked to remove clothing, you will be given a gown to wear.
You will lie on an examination table on your stomach.
Ultrasound gel is placed on the area of the body that will undergo the ultrasound examination.
Using a transducer, a device that sends out the ultrasound waves, the ultrasound wave will be sent through that patient’s body.
The sound will be reflected off structures inside the body, and the ultrasound machine will analyze the information from the sound waves.
The ultrasound machine will create images of these structures on a monitor. These images will be stored digitally.
If the bladder is examined, you will be asked to empty your bladder after scans of the full bladder have been completed. Additional scans will be made of the empty bladder.
There are no confirmed adverse biological effects on patients or instrumentoperators caused by exposures to ultrasound at the intensity levels used indiagnostic ultrasound.
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How To Read An Ultrasound Picture
This article was medically reviewed by Sarah Gehrke, RN, MS. Sarah Gehrke is a Registered Nurse and Licensed Massage Therapist in Texas. Sarah has over 10 years of experience teaching and practicing phlebotomy and intravenous therapy using physical, psychological, and emotional support. She received her Massage Therapist License from the Amarillo Massage Therapy Institute in 2008 and a M.S. in Nursing from the University of Phoenix in 2013.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 1,429,995 times.
An ultrasound may be performed for a variety of reasons, but looking at a baby in the womb is the most common reason. If you have recently had an ultrasound and you want to know how to interpret the images on your ultrasound, then you may benefit from learning about some of the basics of ultrasound imaging. You may also want to know how to pick out specific features of your pregnancy ultrasound, such as the babys head, arms, or sex. Just keep in mind that ultrasounds can be difficult to interpret, so it is best to do so with the help of your doctor.
Does A Shadow Or Dark Spot On My Kidney Mean Cancer
The possible significance of light/dark spots in a scan of the kidneys varies widely depending on the imaging technique. When a dye is used during a scan, such as a computed tomography scan or magnetic resonance imaging , both dark and light spots on the kidneys could potentially indicate cancer. In these scans, the dye accumulates and shows up as a bright spot in places that may contain cancer. If the dye is blocked from reaching certain parts of the kidney, those areas may appear as dark spots in the images.
This technique helps differentiate between tumors and cysts. The dye doesnt collect in a cyst and only builds up in a tumor.
The meaning of black vs. white spots on an ultrasound is different because the technique uses sound waves to reveal the density of any structures inside. Usually, cancerous tumors in the kidneys are solid, which means that cancer will appear as a lighter spot on an ultrasound image because the sound waves bounce off more solid structures. Benign cysts in the kidneys tend to appear as black spots on an ultrasound because the waves pass through them and dont bounce back.
Your doctor can explain the potential implications of any light or dark spots revealed by an imaging scan. The findings of an imaging test alone, particularly an ultrasound, may not be enough to make a definitive diagnosis.
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Our Approach To Kidney Ultrasounds
The Johns Hopkins Kidney Program is one of the first in the country and our doctors have pioneered some of the most innovative treatments for patients with renal failure. In addition to offering leading-edge procedures, our program offers shorter wait times and minimally invasive options, which can lead to a faster recovery.
What Kinds Of Abnormalities May Occur
In some cases, one or both kidneys may fail to develop. In other instances, an abnormality may be present that blocks the outflow of urine. This blockage may cause urine to back up into the kidney, a condition called hydronephrosis, which causes the kidney to appear enlarged on the ultrasound test. Another common abnormality is called reflux. This occurs when a valve-like mechanism at the point where the ureter joins the bladder does not work, allowing urine to wash back up into the kidney.
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Are Hypoechoic Masses Cancerous
Ultrasounds are one tool in determining whether a mass is cancerous. Solid masses are hypoechoic and can be cancerous. Cysts filled with air or fluid are usually hyperechoic and are rarely cancerous.
Abnormal tissue also looks different from healthy tissue on a sonogram. Your doctor will usually do further testing if an ultrasound shows a solid mass or what looks like abnormal tissue.
Ultrasounds help doctors identify benign or malignant tumors. Benign tumors are usually all one type of tissue. They typically have clearly defined borders. They don’t invade other organs. But they may push on them or displace them.
Cancerous masses may contain more than one type of tissue. They often have irregular borders. They may invade nearby organs. It isnt easy to tell the difference between benign and malignant masses. There can be an overlap between both types.
Are There Early Warning Signs Of Kidney Cancer
Many people with kidney cancer dont notice any early signs or symptoms until the cancers later stages, or until the tumor is large. Research suggests, in fact, that over half of all people diagnosed with RCC have no symptoms at the time of diagnosis.
Some of the earliest symptoms you might notice include:
- blood in your urine
- loss of appetite
- unexplained weight loss
Its always a good idea to make an appointment with a doctor or other HCP if you feel generally unwell and:
- your feelings of illness or fatigue last for more than 2 weeks
- your symptoms get worse over time
Some people have a greater chance of developing kidney cancer than others. Risk factors include:
- taking acetaminophen only as directed, without exceeding the recommended dose
- avoiding frequent exposure to harmful carcinogenic substances, like trichloroethylene
Letting your physician know if you have a personal or family history of cancer can help them better determine your specific risk factors for developing RCC.
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What Causes Urinary Tract Abnormalities To Occur Before Birth
In about one of 500 births, some abnormality occurs in the development of the kidneys or urinary tract. It is not really known why this happens. The development of the urinary tract is a complex process that is not fully understood. Problems in the development of the urinary tract that occur before birth are called “congenital.”
White Spots On Kidney Ultrasound
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What Is An Ultrasound
An ultrasound scan is a medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create live images from the inside the body. Also called a sonogram or sonography, ultrasounds let doctors see the bodys soft tissues, which X-rays cant do.
Doctors order ultrasounds for many reasons, such as to look for the causes of pain, swelling, and infection. Ultrasound scans are safe and painless.
Shadow On Kidney Ultrasound
I had a stomach ulcer earlier this year, and I mentioned to the consultant some tummy pains I’d had under my ribs, so he sent me for an ultrasound to check my gallbladder and pancreas.
Fast forward to Monday this week, and I got a letter saying that they have found a shadow on my kidney and are sending me for a CT scan to check further into this. This is booked for a couple of weeks time.
I’ve done a bit of googling, and if I’ve understood things correctly this means they are checking that it isn’t a tumour, and so I’m really worried.
I’m 42 and have had 2-3 fevers in the last few months, just for a day or even half a day and no reason for it. I’ve also been considering going to see the doctor because I have been having hot flushes and sweats at night on and off. I was thinking early menopause. I also went to the doctor earlier this year with bladly aching bones in my legs. They sent me for an xray and found I had extremely low vitamin d, but I have had aches in my bones since it has been at normal level . So with it all added together it feels really ominous to me.
I know no one can here can say whether or not it is a tumour, but it would feel better to me to get an understanding of what the process is like, and how long it might take. Is it possible that they already know from the ultrsound it’s a tumour and they are just trying to get more info? If they find it is a tumour, will they tell me there and then or will I have to wait weeks for an appointment to find out?
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How Dermatologists Help Patients With Kidney Disease
Kidney doctors, called nephrologists, often care for patients with kidney disease. When a kidney disease affects the skin, a nephrologist may team up with a dermatologist. Some skin conditions that develop due to kidney disease can be difficult to control. For example, if a patient has extremely itchy skin, it may be impossible to sleep through the night. A board-certified dermatologist can help a patient get some relief. This may involve using the right balance of moisturizers and medication that you apply to the skin. Some patients get relief with a treatment called UVB phototherapy.
The right skin care may also help. If the kidney disease is causing extremely dry skin, these tips from dermatologists may help:
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic kidney disease in the United States, 2019. Page last reviewed Mar. 11, 2019. Last accessed Feb. 27, 2020.
ImagesImage 1: Image used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
Images 4, 5, 7, 8, 11: Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
ReferencesAmin A, Burgess EF. Skin manifestations associated with kidney cancer. Semin Oncol. 2016 43:408-12.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic kidney disease in the United States, 2019. Page last reviewed Mar. 11, 2019. Last accessed Feb. 27, 2020.
Galperin TA, Cronin AJ, et al. Cutaneous Manifestations of ESRD. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2014 9:201-18.
Findings In The Normal Kidney
In the longitudinal scan plane, the kidney has the characteristic oval bean-shape. The right kidney is often found more caudally and is slimmer than the left kidney, which may have a so-called dromedary hump due to its proximity to the spleen . The kidney is surrounded by a capsule separating the kidney from the echogenic perirenal fat, which is seen as a thin linear structure .
The kidney is divided into parenchyma and renal sinus. The renal sinus is hyperechoic and is composed of calyces, the renal pelvis, fat and the major intrarenal vessels. In the normal kidney, the urinary collecting system in the renal sinus is not visible, but it creates a heteroechoic appearance with the interposed fat and vessels. The parenchyma is more hypoechoic and homogenous and is divided into the outermost cortex and the innermost and slightly less echogenic medullary pyramids . Between the pyramids are the cortical infoldings, called columns of Bertin . In the pediatric patient, it is easier to differentiate the hypoechoic medullar pyramids from the more echogenic peripheral zone of the cortex in the parenchyma rim, as well as the columns of Bertin .
Normal pediatric kidney. * Column of Bertin ** pyramid *** cortex **** sinus.
Measures of the kidney. L = length. P = parenchymal thickness. C = cortical thickness.
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Are There Early Signs Of Kidney Cancer
Knowing your risk
Kidney cancer isnt as common as breast or lung cancer. For most people, the chance of getting kidney cancer in their lifetime is less than 2 percent, according to the American Cancer Society .
Your risk increases if you smoke, are obese, or have been exposed to chemicals, such as asbestos and benzene. Sometimes, kidney cancer can run in families. If youre at high risk, talk to your doctor and watch out for symptoms.
Kidney cancer, also called renal cell carcinoma , accounts for nearly four percent of all cancers in the United States. Each year, more than 62,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease. The risk of kidney cancer increases with age, but in general, it is more common in men than in women.
Most people have two kidneys. They are located below the ribcage near the middle of your back on each side of your spine. The kidneys work to:
- Filter waste from your blood
- Produce urine
- Control blood pressure
- Create red blood cells
Your body can function normally with one kidney. But if a tumor develops and grows in a kidney, its normal functions may be disrupted.
Medical History And Physical Exam
If you have any signs or symptoms that suggest you might have kidney cancer, your doctor will want to take your complete medical history to check for risk factors and to learn more about your symptoms.
A physical exam can provide information about signs of kidney cancer and other health problems. For example, the doctor may be able to feel an abnormal mass when they examine your abdomen .
If symptoms or the results of the physical exam suggest you might have kidney cancer, more tests will probably be done. These might include lab tests,imaging tests, or biopsies of the kidney.
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