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You have two kidneys. They are fist-sized organs on either side of your backbone above your waist. The tubes inside filter and clean your blood, taking out waste products and making urine. Kidney cancer forms in the lining of tiny tubes inside your kidneys.
The kidneys’ main job is to filter the blood coming in from the renal arteries to remove excess water, salt, and waste products. These substances become urine. Urine leaves the kidneys through long slender tubes called ureters, which connect to the bladder. The place where the ureter meets the kidney is called the renal pelvis. The urine is then stored in the bladder until you urinate.
CAUSES & CONDITIONS
- Kidney disease
- Faulty genes and inherited conditions
- Family history
- High blood pressure
- Thyroid cancer
- Radiotherapy for cancer
- Mild painkillers
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Blood in the urine
- Pain or pressure in the side or back
- A mass or lump in the side or back
- Swelling of the ankles and legs
- Anemia, which is a low red blood cell count
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Recurrent fever that is not from cold, flu, or other infection
- For men, a rapid development of a cluster of enlarged veins, known as a varicocele, around a testicle
Kidney cancer is most often treated with surgery, targeted therapy, and/or immunotherapy. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are occasionally used. Patients with kidney cancer that has spread (metastatic cancer, see below) often receive multiple lines of therapy, which are treatments given one after another.