How Does Kidney Cancer Affect the Thyroid?
Kidney cancer can cause problems in other parts of the body. This is particularly true when the cancer has become advanced or if it has spread elsewhere in the body. For example, sometimes it can also affect a distant organ – such as thyroid, how? This issue may not be fully known yet, but there are some possible explanations.
The kidneys, located just underneath your ribcage, are two essential bean-shaped organs for your urinary system. They are responsible to filter and remove wastes from the circulation (bloodstream) and eventually turn it into urine that flows to the bladder through two tubes called ureters.
Your body is made up of cells that normally grow in an orderly process. For example, new cells are produced when the body needs them. But in cancer, this mechanism goes awry. The cancer cells multiply without an orderly way. They can grow and multiply out of control.
Kidney cancer can significantly interfere with the kidney’s functions, causing serious complications or even could be life-threatening.
Kidneys are responsible to make the following essential hormones:
- Renin to help regulate blood pressure.
- EPO (or erythropoietin). When the body needs more red blood cells, this hormone is responsible to stimulate your bone marrow to make red blood cells.
- The kidneys also produce hormone that helps the gut to absorb your dietary calcium. This hormone is called calcitriol. In other words, calcitriol is required to help keep your bones strong and healthy.
The cancer may affect the production of these hormones, increasing the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), abnormal red blood cell count, or osteoporosis. Since the kidneys play a key role to filter the blood, people with kidney cancer are also at high risk of having the imbalance of particular substances in the circulation.
See also other possible problems associated with kidney cancer:
- Does kidney cancer cause back pain?
- Does it affect your eating?
- Can it spread to the pancreas?
- Is it linked to bladder cancer?
- Will it spread to the neck?
- Is it associated with high blood sugar (diabetes)?
- Can it affect colon?
Thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located low on the front of your neck. Although it is small in size, it produces essential hormones required by almost all of metabolic processes in the body.
Thyroid problem can range from a mild disorder (such as enlarged gland ‘goiter’ that usually relieves on its own) to life-threatening disorder (such as thyroid cancer). But in most cases, it involves the abnormal levels of thyroid hormones; hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which there is too much hormones produced by the thyroid gland (higher than normal). On the other hand, hypothyroidism is a term used for insufficient thyroid hormones (lower than normal).
Cancer can also affect the thyroid gland, but it is quite rare. In a few cases, one or more thyroid nodules can grow for several years before eventually they may turn into cancer.
Like in kidney cancer, the exact cause of thyroid cancer is not fully known. But people with the following risk factors have a higher-than-normal risk:
- In some cases, thyroid cancer runs in families. If you have a family history of this cancer, your risk to develop the same condition is higher than others.
- Having benign thyroid condition such as enlarged (goiter) and inflammation (thyroiditis) of the thyroid. These benign conditions also run in families!
- Getting exposure to high-intensity of radiation. You may get it for treating another condition or something else. For instance, radiation therapy to the neck and head can also affect the thyroid gland.
- Particular genetic, inherited syndromes – such as familial adenomatous polyposis (a bowel condition) and multiple endocrine neoplasia.
- Other risk factors include obesity, diabetes, and gender (thyroid cancer affects women more often).
There is also a chance for kidney cancer to affect the thyroid gland. This link may be not fully understood yet, but there are possible explanations of how this cancer can affect thyroid. Some are outlined below: