Overview

Kidney cancer begins in the kidneys. Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They're located behind your abdominal organs, with one kidney on each side of your spine.

In adults, renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer — about 90 percent of cancerous tumors. Other less common types of kidney cancer can occur. Young children are more likely to develop a kind of kidney cancer called Wilms' tumor.

The incidence of kidney cancer seems to be increasing. One reason for this may be the fact that imaging techniques such as computerized tomography (CT) scans are being used more often. These tests may lead to the accidental discovery of more kidney cancers. In many cases, kidney cancer is found at an early stage, when the tumors are small and confined to the kidney, making them easier to treat.

Kidney cancer care at Mayo Clinic

Aug. 15, 2017
References
  1. NCCN Guidelines Version 2.2017: Kidney cancer. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. 2016.
  2. Atkins MG. Clinical manifestations, evaluation, and staging of renal cell carcinoma. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 8, 2017.
  3. American Cancer Society. What is kidney cancer? https://www.cancer.org/cancer/kidney-cancer/about/what-is-kidney-cancer.html. Accessed Feb. 8, 2017.
  4. American Cancer Society. Causes, risk factors, and prevention. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/kidney-cancer/causes-risks-prevention.html. Accessed Feb 8, 2017.
  5. Ho TH, et al. Genetic kidney cancer syndromes. Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. 2014;12:1347.
  6. Fay AP, et al. Whole-exome sequencing in two extreme phenotypes of response to VEGF-targeted therapies in patients with metastatic clear cell renal carcinoma. Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. 2016;14:820.
  7. Drugs approved for kidney (renal cell) cancer. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/drugs/kidney. Accessed Feb. 8, 2017.
  8. Kardos SV, et al. Association of type of renal surgery and access to robotic technology for kidney cancer: Results from a population-based cohort. BJU International. 2014;114:549.
  9. George S, et al. Safety and efficacy of nivolumab in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma treated beyond progression: A subgroup analysis of a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Oncology. 2016;2:1179.
  10. Atkins MG. Overview of the treatment of renal cell carcinoma. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 8, 2017.
  11. American Cancer Society. What are the key statistics about kidney cancer? https://www.cancer.org/cancer/kidney-cancer/about/key-statistics.html. Accessed Feb. 8, 2017.
  12. American Cancer Society. Kidney cancer: Early detection, diagnosis, and staging. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/kidney-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging.html. Accessed Feb. 8, 2017.
  13. American Cancer Society. Treating kidney cancer. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/kidney-cancer/treating.html. Accessed Feb. 8, 2017.
  14. Ho, TH (expert answer). Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, Ariz. Feb. 11, 2017.
  15. National Institutes of Health. NIH clinical research trials and you. https://www.nih.gov/health-information/nih-clinical-research-trials-you. Accessed March 13, 2017.
  16. Leibovich, BC (expert answer). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 30, 2017.
  17. Richie JP, et al. Role of surgery in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 16, 2017.