The most common type of kidney cyst, called a simple kidney cyst, rarely causes problems. Most people don’t even know they have them. Simple kidney cysts are fluid-filled round or oval sacs that form in the kidneys. They are more common in people over 50, and more common in men than in women. They range in size from a pea to a softball. The kidneys are where urine is made by the body, and rarely cysts can block the urine from draining properly out of the kidney. If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor.
Not all kidney lumps and bumps need to be removed. – TRUE
A lump or “mass” found on the kidney is often a fluid-filled sac called a cyst. The most common type of kidney cyst is called a simple cyst. These cysts have no increased risk to develop into kidney cancer and virtually never cause problems. Therefore they don’t need to be removed and no follow-up monitoring is needed. There are also cysts called complex cysts, that may have a risk to develop into cancer and sometimes they may need to be removed.
In contrast to the fluid-filled cysts, some kidney lumps are filled with solid tissue and are referred to as tumors. Most kidney tumors are cancers, meaning they might in future develop the ability to spread outside the kidney, but other tumors are benign, meaning they will never spread. The smaller the kidney tumor, the more likely that it is benign and does not need removal. Sometimes a tumor biopsy (using a needle passed through the skin) can be helpful to tell the difference between a benign tumor and a cancerous tumor. Finally, while many kidney cancers require removal, some small kidney cancers lack the ability to significantly grow or spread. Thus, even some small kidney cancers don’t require removal. If the lump is a kidney tumor, your doctor may suggest monitoring it or surgically removing it.
Kidney cancer is mostly hereditary. – FALSE
The biggest risk factor for developing kidney cancer is smoking tobacco. Smoking doubles the risk of kidney cancer. Smoking is thought to cause about 30% of kidney cancers in men and 25% in women. Other risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure and workplace exposure to certain substances. Men are two to three times more likely to develop kidney cancer than women. African Americans have higher rates of kidney cancer. Genetics can play a role in some cases of kidney cancer, but it is uncommon for kidney cancers to be hereditary. If multiple members of your family have kidney cancer, a doctor may suggest genetic counseling and testing to assess your risk.
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