LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, about the size of your fist, and they sure do pack a punch in keeping you healthy.
The kidneys help filter minerals from the blood, filter waste materials from food, medications, and other toxic substances. The kidneys are located behind your abdominal organs with one kidney on each side of your spine.
Recently, Minnesota U.S. Representative Jim Hagedorn announced the unfortunate news that he has stage-4 kidney cancer.
Local doctors said chemotherapy historically has not been effective in treating kidney cancers. However, doctors said over the last 15 years, immunotherapy or pill treatment containing TKIs has proven to be extremely effective.
Kidney cancer symptoms can vary to none, or blood in the urine, pain in the mid-back, fatigue, loss of appetite, and more.
Dr. Paula Gill, and Oncologist at Mayo Clinic Health System, said research had improved so much in the last couple of years.
"With kidney cancer, one of the issues is there is no screening test for kidney cancer, and it is one of the more rare types of cancers that we see," Gill said. "Cancer is something that when a person hears that word, they will never forget when and where they were when they heard that they have cancer, we can offer patients so many more treatment options than in the past."
Dr. Gill said that it is essential for people to learn their family's medical history, not only concerning cancer but also for other health risks.