Kidney Cancer: Symptoms

What are the symptoms of kidney cancer?

Kidney cancer often causes no symptoms in its early stages. As the cancer grows, it can cause symptoms such as:

  • Blood in the urine. Blood in the urine (hematuria) is one of the most common signs of kidney cancer. Hematuria can be caused by other tumors, such as bladder cancer or prostate cancer tumors. It can also be caused by benign (non-cancer) conditions, such as kidney stones and infections. You may be able to see the blood easily in your urine. Or the blood cells may show up only when a urine test is done.

  • Pain in the side or lower back. Side and back pains that are not from an injury can also be symptoms of kidney cancer. Pain is caused by the tumor growing and pushing against nearby organs. It is usually felt on one side only.

  • A lump in the kidney area. If you feel a lump in the kidney area (the lower back or side) and have not had an injury, a tumor may be there. The lump may also be painful.

  • Tiredness. Chronic tiredness is a common problem for people with cancer. This is usually caused by a low number of red blood cells (anemia). Anemia can be found by blood tests. It can be caused by almost all cancers, as well as by many other diseases.

  • Fast weight loss. Weight loss that happens quickly without any effort to lose weight can be a sign of kidney cancer.

  • Other symptoms. Kidney cancer can also cause loss of appetite, swelling of the legs and ankles, and a fever.

When to see your health care provider

Many of these symptoms may be caused by other health problems. But it is important to see your health care provider if you have these symptoms. Only a health care provider can tell if you have cancer.