Kidney cancer is cancer that starts in the kidneys. It is sometimes called renal cancer. The kidneys are part of the urinary system. The kidneys filter the blood to remove excess water and waste products. These are then made into urine (pee).
Every year, over 9,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with kidney cancer (renal cancer).
Usually only one kidney is affected, and it’s rare for cancer to affect the other kidney.
Am I at risk?
The causes of kidney cancer are unknown, but research is going on to try to find out more. There are certain things that can affect the chances of developing kidney cancer. Having a risk factor does not necessarily mean you will get kidney cancer, and people without risk factors can also develop cancer. Risk factors for kidney cancer are:
- Gender- kidney cancer affects more men than women
- Age- Kidney cancer is more common in people over 60 and rarely affects people under 40.
- Being overweight
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Family history
- Certain genetic conditions
- Exposure to certain materials at work- these include cadmium, lead, asbestos and trichloroethylene
For more information on the risk factors of kidney cancer, please follow this link.
Types of kidney cancer
There are different types of kidney cancer. They may also be called renal cell carcinomas. About 8 out of 10 kidney cancers (80%) are renal cell cancers (RCC). There are different types of RCC. The most common type is clear cell renal cancer.
Less common types are:
- papillary renal cell cancer
- chromophobe renal cell cancer.
Kidney cancer can also start in the renal pelvis. This is usually a type of cancer called urothelial cancer or transitional cell carcinoma.
Another rare type of kidney cancer is called Collecting duct cancer (CDC). This cancer has features of both RCC and of urothelial cancer.
For more information on the types of kidney cancer, please follow this link.
Symptoms of kidney cancer
Kidney cancers do not always cause symptoms. Blood in the urine is the most common symptom. Small kidney cancers do not usually cause symptoms. They are often diagnosed by chance. For example, when people are having tests or scans for some other reason.
Small kidney cancers do not usually cause symptoms. They are often diagnosed by chance. For example, when people are having tests or scans for some other reason.
When kidney cancer does cause symptoms, these may include:
- Blood in your urine (this is the most common symptom)
- A dull pain in your side between your upper abdomen and back
- A high temperature, night sweats and feeling very tired
- Losing weight for no obvious reason
- A lump in the tummy area, side or back.
All the symptoms mentioned here can be caused by conditions other than cancer. But it is important to see your GP and get them checked.
For more information on symptoms of kidney cancer, please follow this link.
For more information from Macmillan regarding kidney cancer, please follow this link.
For more information from Cancer Research UK regarding kidney cancer, please follow this link.