Kidney Cancer: Symptoms

What are the symptoms of kidney cancer?

Kidney cancer often causes no symptoms in its early stages (when it's small and hasn't spread). As the cancer grows, it can cause symptoms, such as:

  • Blood in the urine. Blood in the urine (hematuria) is one of the most common signs of kidney cancer. You may be able to see the blood easily in your urine. Or the blood cells may show up only when a urine test is done.

  • Pain in the side or lower back.  Side and back pains can be caused by the tumor growing and pushing against nearby organs. It's usually felt on 1 side only.

  • A lump in the kidney area. If you feel a lump in the kidney area (your lower back or side) and have not had an injury, a tumor may be there. The lump may hurt.

  • Tiredness. Tiredness that doesn't get better with rest is a common problem for people with cancer. It's often caused by a low number of red blood cells (anemia).

  • Fast weight loss.  Weight loss that happens quickly without any effort can be a sign of kidney cancer.

  • Loss of appetite

  • Swelling of the legs and ankles

  • Fever

  • High blood pressure

  • In men, a cluster of swollen blood vessels around a testicle

When to see your healthcare provider

Many of these symptoms may be caused by other health problems. Still, it's important to see a healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have cancer.

Online Medical Reviewer: Heather M Trevino BSN RNC
Online Medical Reviewer: Kimberly Stump-Sutliff RN MSN AOCNS
Online Medical Reviewer: Todd Gersten MD
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2021
© 2023 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.