Kidney cancer

Kidney cancer

What is kidney cancer?

Kidney cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the kidney.

In the early stages, the primary cancer forms a tumour that is confined to the kidney. As the cancer grows, it may invade organs or structures near the kidney, such as the surrounding fatty tissue, veins, adrenal glands, ureters or liver. It might also spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or bones.

Read more about kidney cancer.

Kidney cancer symptoms

Most people with kidney cancer don’t have any noticeable symptoms. However, some symptoms include:

  • blood in the urine (haematuria)
  • a change in urine colour to dark, rusty or brown
  • pain in the lower back on one side that is not due to an injury
  • pain or a lump in the abdomen or side (flank)
  • constant tiredness
  • unexplained weight loss
  • fever (not caused by a cold or flu)
  • swelling of the abdomen or extremities, e.g. ankles, feet.

Kidney cancer statistics

  • About 2700 people are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year. This accounts for about 2.5% of cancers in Australia.
  • Kidney cancer is the ninth most common cancer in Australia.
  • The average age of a person who gets kidney cancer is 63.
  • Men are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with kidney cancer as women are.

The aim of this information is to help you understand about kidney cancer. We cannot advise you about the best treatment for you. You need to discuss this with your doctors. However, we hope this information will answer some of your questions and help you think about the questions you would like to ask your doctors or other health carers.