OPINION

Health and Wellness: Kidney cancer awareness

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department

Kidney cancer begins in the kidneys, and like other cancers, can spread. It's not clear what causes most kidney cancers.

The incidence of kidney cancer seems to be increasing, which according to Mayo Clinic, may be due to imaging techniques being used more often. These tests may lead to the accidental discovery of kidney cancer. This is good news, because kidney cancer doesn’t have signs or symptoms in very early stages.

As kidney cancer advances, the individual may notice blood in the urine, back or side pain, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss, tiredness, or fever. If you notice these symptoms, contact your primary clinic.

If you typically just use urgent care walk in clinics for your health needs, the Dallas County Health Department urges you to choose a clinic as your go-to place. Then when serious symptoms arise, you’ll have healthcare professionals who know you, have your medical history and can quarterback the specialists you may need for serious diseases such as cancer.

Although this article has focused on kidney cancer, there are behaviors in your control that can reduce your risk of many cancers and other diseases: stop smoking, maintain a healthy weight and control your blood pressure.