Kidney cancer can develop in adults and children. The main types of kidney cancer are renal cell cancer, transitional cell cancer, and Wilms tumor. Certain inherited conditions increase the risk of kidney cancer. Explore the links on this page to learn more about kidney cancer treatment, statistics, research, and clinical trials.

Renal Cell Cancer Treatment

  • Renal cell cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in tubules of the kidney.
  • Smoking and misuse of certain pain medicines can affect the risk of renal cell cancer.
  • Signs of renal cell cancer include blood in the urine and a lump in the abdomen.
  • Tests that examine the abdomen and kidneys are used to diagnose renal cell cancer.
  • Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

Renal cell cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in tubules of the kidney.

Renal cell cancer (also called kidney cancer or renal cell adenocarcinoma) is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the lining of tubules (very small tubes) in the kidney. There are 2 kidneys, one on each side of the backbone, above the waist. Tiny tubules in the kidneys filter and clean the blood. They take out waste products and make urine. The urine passes from each kidney through a long tube called a ureter into the bladder. The bladder holds the urine until it passes through the urethra and leaves the body.

Cancer that starts in the ureters or the renal pelvis (the part of the kidney that collects urine and drains it to the ureters) is different from renal cell cancer. (See the PDQ summary about Transitional Cell Cancer of the Renal Pelvis and Ureter Treatment for more information).

Smoking and misuse of certain pain medicines can affect the risk of renal cell cancer.

Risk factors for renal cell cancer include the following:

  • Smoking.
  • Misusing certain pain medicines, including over-the-counter pain medicines, for a long time.
  • Being overweight.
  • Having high blood pressure.
  • Having a family history of renal cell cancer.
  • Having certain genetic conditions, such as von Hippel-Lindau disease or hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma.

Transitional Cell Cancer of the Renal Pelvis and Ureter Treatment

  • Transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the renal pelvis and ureter.
  • A personal history of bladder cancer and smoking can affect the risk of transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter.
  • Signs and symptoms of transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter include blood in the urine and back pain.
  • Tests that examine the abdomen and kidneys are used to diagnose transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter.
  • Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

Wilms Tumor and Other Childhood Kidney Tumors Treatment

  • Childhood kidney tumors are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the kidney.
  • There are many types of childhood kidney tumors.
    • Wilms Tumor
    • Renal Cell Cancer (RCC)
    • Rhabdoid Tumor of the Kidney
    • Clear Cell Sarcoma of the Kidney
    • Congenital Mesoblastic Nephroma
    • Ewing Sarcoma of the Kidney
    • Primary Renal Myoepithelial Carcinoma
    • Cystic Partially Differentiated Nephroblastoma
    • Multilocular Cystic Nephroma
    • Primary Renal Synovial Sarcoma
    • Anaplastic Sarcoma of the Kidney
  • Nephroblastomatosis is not cancer but may become Wilms tumor.
  • Having certain genetic syndromes or other conditions can increase the risk of Wilms tumor.
  • Tests are used to screen for Wilms tumor.
  • Having certain conditions may increase the risk of renal cell cancer.
  • Treatment for Wilms tumor and other childhood kidney tumors may include genetic counseling.
  • Signs of Wilms tumor and other childhood kidney tumors include a lump in the abdomen and blood in the urine.

Hereditary Syndromes Associated With Kidney Cance

  • Renal cell cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in tubules of the kidney.
  • Having certain hereditary syndromes can increase the risk of renal cell cancer.
  • Hereditary and non-inherited renal cell cancers differ in several ways.

To Learn More About Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancer

For more information from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health about kidney cancer and genetics, see the following:

  • Kidney Cancer Home Page
  • Drugs Approved for Kidney Cancer
  • Genetic Testing for Inherited Cancer Susceptibility Syndromes
  • Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center
  • Genetics Home Reference
  • Renal Cell Cancer Treatment
  • Transitional Cell Cancer of the Renal Pelvis and Ureter Treatment
  • Wilms Tumor and Other Childhood Kidney Tumors Treatment

What is Cancer?

  • Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

  • Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the risk of getting cancer. This can include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding exposure to known cancer-causing substances, and taking medicines or vaccines that can prevent cancer from developing.

  • Cancer can cause many different symptoms. Most often these symptoms are not caused by cancer, but by benign tumors or other problems. If you have symptoms that last for a couple of weeks, your doctor will do a physical exam and order tests or other procedures to find out what is causing your symptoms.