Pacific Most Common
Kidney cancer is cancer that originates in the kidneys. Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They're located behind your abdominal organs, with one kidney on each side of your spine.
In adults, the most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma. Other less common types of kidney cancer can occur. Transitional cell carcinoma, which affects the ureters, can also begin in the kidneys. Children are more likely to develop a kind of kidney cancer called Wilms' tumor.
The incidence of kidney cancer seems to be increasing, though it isn't clear why. Many kidney cancers are detected during procedures for other diseases or conditions. Imaging techniques such as computerized tomography (CT) are being used more often, which may lead to the discovery of more kidney cancers.
Signs and Symptoms
Kidney cancer rarely causes signs or symptoms in its early stages. In the later stages, kidney cancer signs and symptoms may include:
- Blood in your urine, which may appear pink, red or cola colored
- Back pain just below the ribs that doesn't go away
- Weight loss
- Intermittent fever
It's not clear what causes renal cell carcinoma. Doctors know that kidney cancer begins when some kidney cells acquire mutations in their DNA. The mutations tell the cells to grow and divide rapidly. The accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor that can extend beyond the kidney. Some cells can break off and spread (metastasize) to distant parts of the body.
Acknowledgment: This text is adapted from the MayoClinic website.
Kidney Cancer Association
"The Kidney Cancer Association (KCA) is a charitable organization made up of patients, family members, physicians, researchers, and other health professionals globally. We fund, promote, and collaborate with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), American Urological Association (AUA), and other institutions on research projects. We educate families and physicians, and serve as an advocate on behalf of patients at the state and federal levels."
- Visit KCA.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
NCI has up-to-date information for patients and practitioners about kidney cancer.
- Visit NCI's Kidney Cancer webpage.
MedlinePlus - Kidney Cancer Link
MedlinePlus will direct you to information to help answer health questions. MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies and health-related organizations. MedlinePlus also has extensive information about drugs, an illustrated medical encyclopedia, interactive patient tutorials, and latest health news. Please make sure you check the MedlinePlus online for Kidney Cancer information with an extensive, constantly updated resource list.
- Visit MedlinePlus.
MayoClinic - Kidney Cancer
Mayo Clinic physicians are leaders in diagnosing and treating people with kidney cancer, and bring comprehensive, compassionate care to each patient.
- Visit MayoClinic's Kidney Cancer webpage.
American Cancer Society (ACS)
Learn about kidney cancer, its risk factors, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and more.
- Visit ACS's Kidney Cancer webpage.
- Download ACS's Kidney Cancer - Renal Cell Carcinoma PDF (46 pages): (pdf 360 KB).
Printed Materials to Download
ASCO Answers: Kidney Cancer
American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2008, 2 pages.
ASCO Answers is a series of fact sheets that provides an introduction to a specific type of cancer. Each fact sheet is a PDF that includes an overview of what the cancer is, an illustration of where the cancer starts, how it is treated, terms to know, and questions to ask the doctor.
- Download the PDF file: (pdf 353 KB).
“What You Need To Know About™ Kidney Cancer
NCI 2003, 45 pages.
NCI’s booklet helps you to learn about kidney cancer symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and questions to ask your health care provider.
- Download the PDF file: (pdf 1.5 MB).
"We Have Kidney Cancer"
"We Have Kidney Cancer" has been revised by the Kidney Cancer Association's Nurse Advisory Board, in consultation with the some of the world's leading surgeons and oncologists. Beautifully illustrated, this more than 100-page book comprehensively describes the treatment of kidney cancer, including information about cutting-edge therapies and clinical trials that could help to prolong the life of people with advanced cancer.
- To download the PDF, please visit KCA.
CancerCare: Progress in the Treatment of Kidney Cancer
The information in this booklet is based on the CancerCare Connect® Telephone Education Workshop "Progress in the Treatment of Renal Cell Carcinoma," which took place in April 2008.
- Download the PDF file: (pdf 554 KB).
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