About Kidney Cancer

Just above your waist, you have two kidneys on either side of your back that act as your body’s filters. Tiny tubes inside your kidneys, called tubules, clean your blood and get rid of waste in the form of urine. The urine passes from each kidney into your bladder through a long tube called a ureter.
Kidney cancer, or renal cancer, happens when cancer grows in the lining of the tubules. It usually grows as a single tumor in one kidney, but multiple tumors may grow in one or both kidneys.


Symptoms of kidney cancer may include:
  • Blood in your urine (slightly rusty to bright red in color)
  • Lump in your abdomen
  • Pain in your side that doesn’t go away
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Anemia (low red blood cells), which can cause fatigue
Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have kidney cancer. These symptoms can also be common with other conditions. See your doctor to determine the cause of any of symptoms and begin treatment as soon as possible.


Like most cancers, there are four stages of kidney cancer. The earlier you are diagnosed, the more treatable it is, so see your doctor immediately if you have any symptoms.

Stage I

A tumor no larger than seven centimeters – about the size of a peach - has formed inside the kidney.

Stage II

The tumor has grown larger than seven centimeters, but is still only inside the kidney.

Stage III

Cancer has spread and may be found:
  • In the kidney and one nearby lymph node; or
  • In an adrenal gland or the tissue surrounding the kidney, and may be found in one nearby lymph node; of
  • In the kidney’s main blood vessels and may be found in one nearby lymph node.

Stage IV

Cancer has spread and may be found:
  • Outside the layer of fatty tissue surrounding the kidney and may be found in one nearby lymph node; or
  • In two or more lymph nodes near the kidney; or
  • In the bowel, pancreas, lungs or other organs, and may be found in nearby lymph nodes.

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