What is kidney cancer?

  • Kidney cancer or renal cancer is a malignant disease of the kidney cells. Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common form of kidney cancer in adults. The most common age of presentation for RCC is 60 to 70 years.

What are the risk factors for kidney cancer?

  • There are certain factors that may increase the risk of developing kidney cancer such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, prolonged dialysis treatment, family history of the disease, polycystic kidney disease, and some familiar conditions.

What are the symptoms associated with kidney cancer?

  • Patients with kidney cancers do not usually have any symptoms. Most kidney cancers are diagnosed incidentally when patients are having investigations for other complaints. Some of the symptoms of kidney cancer include blood in the urine, abdominal pain, presence of a lump felt in the side or the abdomen, weight loss, fatigue and fever. If the kidney cancer spreads to other parts of the body it may present symptoms such as bone pain, fracture, difficulty breathing, and coughing up blood. 

How is kidney cancer diagnosed?

  • Medical imaging studies such as CT scan, ultrasound or MRI scan may be ordered to investigate a suspected case of kidney cancer. A biopsy may also sometimes be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.

How is kidney cancer treated?

  • Surgery is usually the recommended curative treatment for kidney cancer. Surgery may involve complete or partial removal of the kidney. Your surgeon will discuss the various options depending on your clinical circumstances. It is possible to survive with one functioning kidney. If both kidneys must be removed, you will require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • Whenever possible, we will aim to preserve as much normal kidney tissue as possible and perform a partial removal of the cancerous part of the kidney. 
  • Minimally invasive keyhole surgery (laparoscopy, or robotic-assisted) with 3-4 small incisions, is usually used to perform kidney cancer surgery. Robotic-assisted keyhole surgery can be used for complex partial nephrectomies.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is provided for your general information and is not a substitute for the specific advice of your treating doctor.