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updated: 3/21/2013 11:09 AM

Kidney Cancer Awareness

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Dr. Robinson Ortiz, MD

It is important to ensure that our kidneys stay healthy throughout our lifetime as they do a lot for our body. Your kidneys are organs about the size of your fist and are located near the middle of your back, below the ribcage. Kidneys are the body's natural blood filter. The kidneys are also responsible for many other things such as excretion of wastes, hormone secretion, and blood pressure regulation.

It is estimated that by the end of this year, over 50,000 people will be diagnosed with Kidney Cancer. Although the reasons for developing kidney cancer are not completely known, there are many ways that you can keep aware of your kidney health now.

It is known that kidney cancer begins with some kidney cells acquiring mutations in their DNA. The mutations then cause the cells to grow and divide at a fast rate. This then causes a tumor to form on the kidney.

There are many risk factors that are related to developing kidney cancer. These are:

• Being of older age

• Being male

• Having high blood pressure

• Being a smoker

• Being obese or overweight

• Having past kidney failure

The most common symptoms for someone developing kidney cancer are blood in the urine, fever, pain in lower back area and rapid weight loss. If you are noticing a combination of any of these symptoms please make an appointment with your health care provider as soon as possible. Symptoms do not always mean cancer, but it is better to have all symptoms looked at as it could mean something else. Your doctor will use a physical exam, blood and urine tests, and/or scans to help determine what may be wrong.

There are many natural ways you can improve your kidney health. First of all, drinking a lot of water each day is extremely important to help eliminate toxins and chemicals from your body. Having a healthy and natural diet makes it easier for your body to digest and process foods. This will keep your kidneys protected from harmful chemicals. Finally, it is important to get regular exercise because sweating from physical activity can help your body rid itself of toxins.

If you have any further questions or concerns about your kidney health, contact your doctor and they will be able to give you all the information you are looking for.

Dr. Robinson Ortiz, MD, practices Hematology & Oncology in Elk Grove Village, IL at Northwest Oncology-Hematology. Dr. Ortiz received his medical degree from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.