Kidney cancer can often be successfully treated if you catch it early on. Kidney Cancer UK’s 2021 Patient Survey has revealed that more than a quarter of patients are misdiagnosed, leading to potential treatment delays which can severely impact the survival rate. To give yourself and others the best chances of being correctly diagnosed, it’s essential to know and look out for the five early warning signs. Express.co.uk chatted to Dr Natalie Charnley, Oncologist at Royal Preston Hospital and Kidney Cancer UK Consultant to find out what the early symptoms are.
There are around 13,300 new kidney cancer cases in the UK every year – that’s 36 every day.
The disease is more common in men than women, but rates have increased by more than a quarter for men and women in the last decade.
Kidney cancer is treatable if caught early enough, but misdiagnosis and patients not recognising early symptoms are common.
Oncologist Dr Natalie said: “Symptoms of kidney cancer can be vague and easily put down to other less severe problems such as low back pain, chronic urine infections or even stress/fatigue.
“However, there are five early warning signs that you can look out for to help ensure that any indications that you could have the disease are spotted early.
“All these symptoms can be signs of kidney cancer, therefore if you are in any way concerned, it’s important to seek medical advice.
“The sooner kidney cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat. Regular routine check-ups are advisable, as many kidney cancer symptoms are hardly noticeable in the early stages, therefore helping to identify cancer before it spreads is critical.”
Tiredness and constant fatigue
Feeling tired and weak is a common side effect of kidney cancer, and this could include general weakness or feeling of heaviness, difficulty with concentration or decreased interest in usual tasks.
Dr Natalie stressed: “When your fatigue begins to interfere with your ability to carry out your normal daily activities, it’s worth checking in with your doctor to see if your tiredness can be fixed through supplements or diet change, or whether it’s more serious. “
Weight loss and/or loss of appetite
A sudden loss of appetite can be associated with kidney cancer sometimes.
It’s important to be mindful that a lack of interest in eating can then also contribute to unintentional weight loss, another symptom of the disease, Dr Natalie said.
Anyone concerned about their health or symptoms should speak to a medical professional.
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