Kidney Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Early kidney cancers do not usually cause any signs or symptoms, but larger ones might. Some possible signs and symptoms of kidney cancer include:

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Low back pain on one side (not caused by injury)
  • A mass (lump) on the side or lower back
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss not caused by dieting
  • Fever that is not caused by an infection and that doesn’t go away
  • Anemia (low red blood cell counts)

These signs and symptoms can be caused by kidney cancer (or another type of cancer), but more often they are caused by other, benign, diseases. For example, blood in the urine is most often caused by a bladder or urinary tract infection or a kidney stone. Still, if you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.

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American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2017. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2017.

Atkins MB. UpToDate. Clinical manifestations, evaluation, and staging of renal cell carcinoma; This topic last updated: Jan 19, 2017. Accessed at https://www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-manifestations-evaluation-and-staging-of-renal-cell-carcinoma on 05/25/17.

Lane BR, Canter DJ, Rini BI, Uzzo RG. Ch 63 - Cancer of the kidney. In: DeVita VT, Hellman S, Rosenberg SA, eds. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Kidney Cancer. V.2.2017. Accessed at: www.nccn.org on June 5, 2017

Pili R, Kauffman E, Rodriguez R. Ch 82 - Cancer of the kidney. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier: 2014.

Last Medical Review: August 1, 2017 Last Revised: August 1, 2017

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