Kidney Cancer When You Have Only 1 Kidney

Normally, you have two kidneys that are responsible to provide healthy, balanced blood. Cancer can significantly ruin this function. And the treatment for kidney cancer is more challenging if you have only 1 kidney. However, the treatment is necessary especially true if the cancer grows aggressively.

If you only have one kidney

image_illustration421There are a number of reasons that may make people have only one kidney. These include:

  1. Some people are born with only 1 kidney, a condition called renal agenesis. There is also a condition called kidney dysplasia (when you were born with 2 kidneys but not all of them work, only one works).
  2. To treat particular condition (such as cancer or serious kidney injury), one kidney can be removed with surgery.
  3. Another reason is for donation. Some people lose one of their two kidneys and give it to a person who needs kidney transplantation.

The good news, people with only one kidney can still have healthy lives. Even most of them have few or no problems, especially in the first years.

However two is better than one

The chance of having some slight loss in kidney function is greater in people with 1 kidney. Having single kidney at birth or due to removed in childhood will lead to decreased kidney function about 25 years later in life. It seems that the problem takes years to develop.

The good news, this loss in kidney function is usually mild, not serious – and life span is normal.

One healthy kidney should be enough and work as well as two. But remember, having one kidney means you need to be more careful to look after it.

Can you participate in sports?

Getting plenty of physical activity is important for your overall health. In fact, exercise can play a key role to keep your kidney healthy.

But it’s also important to make sure that your exercise doesn’t hurt the only one kidney that you have! Just avoid any high-impact and contact sports such as wrestling, soccer, American football, martial arts, or hockey!

If you do need to participate in contact sports, talk with your doctor first! Try to always consider whether the risk outweighs the advantage!

Is there any specific diet to follow?

Although you need to be more careful with only 1 kidney, in general there’s usually no specific diet you have to follow! But for some people (especially for those with a kidney transplant due to kidney failure or kidney disease), they may have some restrictions. For more assistance, talk to a registered dietitian!

What else?

To keep safe, it’s recommended to check your kidney function at least once a year. It is usually checked with a urine test. You may also need to take a blood test!

And since the kidney is closely related to your blood pressure, it’s also recommended to check your blood pressure every year. High blood pressure can be a cause and a consequence of kidney disease!

In addition, is it possible to live without any kidney? Technically, people should be able to live with no kidneys – but this requires dialysis. And taking dialysis is not easy to cope.

Kidney cancer when you have only one kidney

Your body is made up of millions or even billions of cells. Normally, these cells grow & multiply in an orderly way. In other words, new cells are produced when the body needs them! But in cancer, cancer cells will develop and multiply without control.

Unfortunately, experts don’t know the exact cause that triggers cancer. But some factors /conditions are believed can increase the risk of developing cancer, such as exposure to tobacco smoke, decreased immune system, and obesity.

At first, kidney cancer usually affects only one of the kidneys. Since it’s still possible to have a normal, healthy live with only one healthy kidney – kidney affected by the cancer can be entirely removed with surgery to completely remove the cancer and prevent it from coming back. But this option is more difficult or even almost impossible if patient have only one kidney.