A kidney tumor may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Kidney cancer can form in the small tubes inside the kidney. Those tubes are located in the center of the kidney where urine collects and is used to filter blood. The most common kidney cancer is called Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC).
Kidney cancer is treated in many ways, including observation, freezing or heating the tumor, or surgically removing it.
If surgery is recommended, doctors may be able to save the kidney by removing only the tumor, depending on its size and location. This procedure is known as a partial nephrectomy. If the surgeon determines that the entire kidney needs to be removed, this is called a radical nephrectomy. For more details on common types of surgery performed on the kidney, see the “Surgical Options” section that follows.
Unfortunately, kidney cancer does not usually have early symptoms, but it is important to see a doctor if any symptoms are present, such as:
- Blood in the urine
- Lump in the abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
- Pain in the side
- Loss of appetite