Kidney Cancer

What is Kidney Cancer?

Cancer is when cells in the body grow out of control. These cells can form a tumor or damaged tissue. If cancer cells grow in the kidney, it is called kidney cancer.

On average, people are diagnosed with kidney cancer at around age 64. It’s rarely found in people younger than age 45. More than 73,000 people will be diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2019 in the U.S. This risk is higher in men than in women.

With timely diagnosis and treatment, kidney cancer can be cured. To learn more about symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options and common questions, read on.


Kidney tumors may not hurt or show any signs. Sometimes a growth in the kidney can cause:

If cancer spreads (metastasizes) beyond the kidney, symptoms depend upon where it spreads. Short breath or coughing-up blood may occur when cancer is in the lung. Bone pain or fracture may occur when cancer is in the bone. Neurologic symptoms may occur when cancer is in the brain.

Cancer in the kidney is linked to the following risks:


Unfortunately, there are no blood or urine tests that directly detect kidney cancer. Most often a tumor is diagnosed during routine screening for people with genetic risks (e.g. Von Hippel-Lindau disease, tuberous sclerosis). Or it is found when a person sees a doctor about an unrelated problem.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) lists these tests most often used to diagnose kidney cancer: