Kidneys are one of the most important organs in the human body. The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located on either side of spine, below the ribs. Each kidney is about 4 or 5 inches long.

The main job of kidney is to filter blood. Kidney removes waste and extra water from the blood to make urine. Kidneys also maintains overall fluid balance in the body.

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Kidney cancer begins in the kidneys. In adults, renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer while children develop Kidney cancer known as Wilms tumor.

Kidney cancer begins when some kidney cells acquire mutations in their DNA. The mutations cause cells to grow and divide rapidly.

This accumulation of abnormal cells form tumor. If kidney cancer is not treated on time then it can spread to other parts of the body.


Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer rarely shows symptoms at an early stage. In the later stages, kidney cancer shows signs and symptoms such as:

  • Blood in Urine
  • Back pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Fever usually comes and goes

Causes of Kidney Cancer

Major causes of Kidney cancer include:

  • Older age
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Certain inherited syndromes such as Hippel-Lindau disease, Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex, hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma or familial renal cancer.
  • Family history
  • Exposure to radiation or chemical substances

Diagnosis of Kidney Cancer

Early detection of Kidney cancer is necessary to cure kidney cancer. Tests and procedures used to diagnose kidney cancer include:

  • Blood and urine tests: Many times doctor asks for blood and urine tests to detect signs and symptoms of kidney cancer.
  • Imaging Tests: Imaging tests include CT and MRI scans. These tests are used to visualize kidney tumor or abnormality in the kidney cells.
  • Biopsy: In this treatment, sample of cells are taken from kidney. The sample is tested in a lab to look for signs of cancer.

Treatment of Kidney Cancer


Surgery is the main treatment for the majority of kidney cancers. The main goal of surgery is to remove cancerous tumor and to preserve normal kidney function. Surgical procedures used to treat kidney cancer include:

  • Nephrectomy:  This surgery involves removing the entire kidney. Cancer surgeon performs laparoscopic or robotic-assisted laparoscopic nephrectomy.
  • Partial Nephrectomy:  This surgery is also called as kidney-sparing or nephron-sparing surgery. The surgeon removes the tumor and a small portion of healthy tissue surrounding kidney than the entire kidney. It can be done as an open procedure or laparoscopically or with robotic assistance.


During Cryoablation, a special hollow needle is inserted through skin and into the kidney tumor. Cold gas in the needle is used to cool down or freeze the cancer cells.

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    Radiofrequency Ablation:

    During radiofrequency ablation, a special probe is inserted through the skin and into the kidney tumor using ultrasound or other imaging to guide movement of the probe.

    Radiation Therapy:

    Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy beams such as X-rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy is used to control or reduce symptoms of kidney cancer.

    Targeted Therapy:

    Targeted therapy blocks specific abnormal signals present in kidney cancer cells and prevents growth of cancerous cells.

    Biological Therapy:

    It is also known as Immunotherapy. Biological therapy uses body’s own immune system to fight cancer.

    Kidney cancer is preventable and curable if it is diagnosed at the earliest stage. Quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure, and maintaining a healthy weight are the best ways to prevent Kidney cancer.

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