Sarah Cannon - March 23, 2015

March is Kidney Cancer Awareness Month, a time to educate yourself about this common cancer. Kidney cancer (also called renal cancer [i]) is one of the ten most common cancers in both men and women.[ii] The American Cancer Society estimates that, in 2015, approximately 61,560 new cases of kidney cancer (38,270 in men and 23,290 in women) will occur. Overall, the lifetime risk for developing kidney cancer is about 1 in 63 (1.6 percent), with men at higher risk than women. [iii]

What You Need to Know About Kidney Cancer

There are four main types of kidney cancer : : [IV]

  1. Renal cell carcinoma, which makes up about 85 percent of kidney cancers
  2. Transitional cell carcinoma, which accounts for 10 to 15 percent of kidney cancer
  3. Sarcoma, a rare form of kidney cancer
  4. Wilms tumor, which is most common in children symptoms of kidney cancer: know what to look for

Certain risk factors may predispose you to develop kidney cancer. [v] These include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Overuse of certain pain medications
  • Certain occupational exposures such as asbestos and aniline
  • Certain tanning products
  • Exposure to some toxins, such as astrolachia, which is an herb that is common in some Chinese herbal preparations

Other risk factors include a family history of certain hereditary forms of kidney cancer, dialysis treatment, chronic renal stones, tuberous sclerosis and Von Hippel Lindau syndrome , a rare genetic disorder.

Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

While diagnostic tests can pick up signs of kidney cancer, there are also symptoms that the disease can cause. Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Lower back pain or new pain elsewhere
  • Shortness of breath or a cough
  • A lump in the abdomen
  • Unplanned, significant weight loss
  • Fever
  • Swelling of ankles, legs and/or abdomen

Once diagnosed, your doctor will recommend a method of treatment based on the stage and type of cancer. This can include any of the following: surgery, radiation, targeted therapy, medication and immunotherapy.


Cancer.Gov Ñ Kidney Cancer , Wilms Tumor and Other Childhood Kidney Tumors

Medline Plus Ñ Kidney Cancer

American Cancer Society Ñ Kidney Cancer , What are the key statistics about kidney cancer? Ñ Kidney Cancer overview , Types of Kidney Cancer


[ii] American Cancer Society Ñ Kidney Cancer

[iii] American Cancer Society Ñ What are the key statistics about kidney cancer?