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What is kidney cancer ?

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, located in your abdomen on each side of your spine. The main job of kidneys is to remove waste, excess fluid and detoxify the blood. Apart from it, it makes hormones that make sure the body has enough red blood cells. Kidney cancer starts in the kidney where kidney cells become malignant and grow rapidly. Kidney cancer is also called renal cancer and is easy to detect before it spread to other organs.

What are the types of Kidney cancers?

Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer that is often seen in adults. RCC usually grows as a single mass tumor within a part of the kidney that filters blood. Renal pelvis carcinoma occurs where urine is collected in the kidney.

Wilms tumors are the most common type of cancer that occurs in children because of loss or inactivation of a tumor suppressor gene that usually controls cell growth.

Transitional cell carcinomas develop in the lining of the renal pelvis that connects kidneys to the bladder. This cancer develops as bladder cancer and is associated with cigarette smoking and exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.

Renal sarcomas are a rare type of kidney cancer. It develops in the blood vessels or connective tissue of the kidney.

What are the symptoms?

You may have no early symptoms of kidney cancer at the early stages. As the cancer progress, the following possible symptoms start appearing:

  • Haematuria (blood in urine)
  • A lump in the abdomen or lower back
  • Lower back pain on one side
  • A loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and Anemia
  • Swelling in abdomen, ankles, or legs

What are the Causes & Risk Factors?

There are certain factors that may increase the risk for kidney cancer included:

  • Some genetic factors and changes in the structure of DNA in cells cause cancer to grow and spreads.
  • Smoking cigarettes increase your risk for kidney cancer aggressively.
  • Men are seen more affected by kidney cancer than women
  • Obesity or poor diet may cause hormonal imbalance and increase the risk
  • Being on long-term dialysis or having advanced kidney disease make your kidney cells function abnormally
  • Exposure to certain toxins and chemicals
  • High blood pressure

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor may suggest many tests to learn more about kidney cancer. Initially, the doctor will check the complete history and physical examination. To detect kidney cancer, the following tests are suggested:

  • Complete blood count (CBC) to check the production of red blood cells and the functioning of kidneys.
  • Urinalysis to check the blood in the urine. It also checks the signs of infection and protein in the urine.
  • Imaging scans techniques such as ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan are used to capture the detailed images of soft tissues of the kidneys that help to diagnose the stage of kidney masses.
  • An intravenous pyelogram test helps to find a tumor on nearby organs with X-rays beaming.
  • Complete metabolic panel (CMP) checks the metabolic function of the organs.
  • A biopsy is used to remove a small sample of kidney tissue for examination of the presence of a cancer.

How is it treated?

After the diagnosis, your doctor recommends the best treatment option. Many different risk factors are involved with kidney cancer such as the type of kidney cancer and the age and overall health of the individual. Consult the best urologist for kidney cancer treatment. Follow-up appointments are necessary to check the regrowth of tumors.

Radical Nephrectomy

When the kidney tumor becomes very large or aggressive, the surgeon removes the kidney along with the adrenal gland, lymph nodes, and surrounding tissue. Most often it is done by laparoscopic surgery. Partial nephrectomy removes only the tumor, lymph nodes, and some surrounding tissue.


If your tumor is small, the doctor suggests an ablation method to destroy tumors. Radiofrequency ablation is used to heat the tumor and destroy the cells. Cryoablation uses cold gases to destroy the tumors. The biopsy is required to monitor the tumor cells before applying ablation.

Non-surgical option

Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to attack and kill cancer cells and delay the process of growing cancer cells. Immunotherapy restores and boosts the body's natural defence system to fight cancer. Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite is some of the side effects. Targeted therapy uses drugs or other substances to stop the formation of new blood vessels to block the supply of nutrients to the cancer cells.

Kidney cancer can be cured. Treatment is more effective when the cancer is detected at an early stage. A healthy lifestyle and regular health check-ups are some means to control your health.


Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital

Address: Rao Saheb, Achutrao Patwardhan Marg, Four Bungalows, Andheri West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400053

Phone: +91-98 88 66 22 00

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