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Quick Facts

Kidney Cancer

(Adenocarcinoma of the Kidney; Renal Cell Carcinoma)


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Oct 2020| Content last modified Oct 2020
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Cancer is the out-of-control growth of cells in your body. Cells are the tiny building blocks of your body. Cells specialize in what they do. Different organs are made of different kinds of cells. Almost any kind of cell can become cancerous. 

What is kidney cancer?

Kidneys are the 2 bean-shaped organs that make urine. Kidney cancer is the out-of-control growth of cells in your kidney.

  • Smokers have a higher chance of getting kidney cancer

  • Twice as many men than women get kidney cancer

  • You may have blood in your urine, pain in your side, and a fever

  • Doctors do surgery to remove all or part of your kidney

  • Wilms tumor is a type of kidney cancer that happens in children

The Urinary Tract

The Urinary Tract

What are the symptoms of kidney cancer?

The most common first symptom is:

  • Blood in your urine—your urine may be red or the amount of blood may be so tiny that it can only be seen under a microscope

Other symptoms include:

  • Pain in your side and back, near your rib cage (your flank area)

  • Weight loss

How do doctors tell if I have kidney cancer?

Doctors often find kidney cancer by chance when they do a test for another health problem.

If doctors suspect kidney cancer, they’ll do a CT scan or MRI to know for sure. Once in a while, doctors feel a lump in your kidney when examining you.

If you have kidney cancer, doctors will do other tests to see if your cancer has spread.

How do doctors treat kidney cancer?

If the cancer is only in your kidney, doctors will:

  • Take out the tumor or the whole kidney

Kidney cancer tends to spread through your body quickly. If the cancer has spread, doctors will do:

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