What Is Kidney Cancer?
Kidney cancer — also called renal cancer — is a disease in which kidney cells become malignant (cancerous) and grow out of control, forming a tumor. Almost all kidney cancers first appear in the lining of tiny tubes (tubules) in the kidney. This type of kidney cancer is called renal cell carcinoma. The good news is that most of kidney cancers are found before they spread (metastasize) to distant organs. And cancers caught early are easier to treat successfully. However, these tumors can grow to be quite large before they are detected.
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They lie in your lower abdomen on each side of your spine. Their main job is to clean your blood, removing waste products and making urine.
What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Cancer?
In many cases, people may have no early symptoms of kidney cancer. As the tumor grows larger, symptoms may appear. You may have one or more of these kidney cancer symptoms:
- Blood in your urine
- A lump in your side or abdomen
- A loss of appetite
- A pain in your side that doesn’t go away
- Fever that lasts for weeks and isn’t caused by a cold or other infection
- Extreme fatigue
- Swelling in your ankles or legs