Due to the location of the kidneys, many kidney cancer symptoms don't show until the tumor has grown quite large. Most are found during treatment for other medical conditions, such as kidney stones or back pain. If there are symptoms, they vary from person to person.
Kidney cancer symptoms may include:
- Blood in the urine, known as hematuria. This is the most common kidney cancer symptom. Often, hematuria causes the urine to appear rusty or deep red. Other times, it cannot be seen by the naked eye. Hematuria is not a sure sign of kidney cancer, since it can be caused by other medical problems like a kidney stone or urinary tract infection. Every person with hematuria should see a doctor.
- A lump or mass on the side or lower back
- Unexplained fever for a few weeks
- Unintentional weight loss
- Lingering dull ache or pain in the side, abdomen or lower back
- Feeling fatigued or in poor health
- Swelling of ankles and legs. This symptom arises when the kidney tumor prevents the kidney from removing excess fluid in the body.
These symptoms do not always mean you have kidney cancer. However, it is important to discuss any symptoms with your doctor, since they may signal other health problems.
A small number of kidney cancer can be passed down from one generation to the next. Genetic counseling may be right for you. Learn more about the risk to you and your family on our genetic testing page.
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