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Kidney Cancer Signs and Symptoms

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Early kidney cancers often don’t cause any signs or symptoms, but larger or more advanced 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
  • Fever that is not caused by an infection and that doesn’t go away
  • Fatigue (feeling very tired)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • 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 (non-cancerous) 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.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Atkins MB. Clinical manifestations, evaluation, and staging of renal cell carcinoma.  UpToDate. 2023. Accessed at https://www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-manifestations-evaluation-and-staging-of-renal-cell-carcinoma on December 7, 2023.

McNamara MA, Zhang T, Harrison MR, George DJ. Ch 79 - Cancer of the kidney. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier: 2020.

National Cancer Institute. Renal Cell Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version. 2023. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/types/kidney/patient/kidney-treatment-pdq on December 7, 2023.

Last Revised: May 1, 2024

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