7 Symptoms of Renal Cell Carcinoma

7 Symptoms of Renal Cell Carcinoma

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  • Renal Cell Carcinoma

    Renal Cell Carcinoma

    Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of kidney cancer, accounting for nine out of ten kidney cancer cases. RCC usually manifests as one tumor, but may include two tumors, either both in the same kidney, or one in each. Risk factors for this type of cancer include a family history of RCC, high blood pressure, polycystic kidney disease, and smoking.

    Surgical treatment for RCC is often successful at eliminating the tumors, although the outlook depends on whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. The survival rate is very high when the cancer is found before it has spread.

  • Symptoms of RCC

    Symptoms of RCC

    If you have RCC, you are not likely to experience symptoms until the later stages of the disease when the tumors have grown larger. RCC is most often diagnosed when a patient is being examined for another reason. A tumor may show on an ultrasound or a CT scan before an individual experiences any symptoms.

    The symptoms that are caused by kidney tumors are similar to those caused by other conditions, like bladder infections or kidney stones. If you experience any of the symptoms, you should see your doctor.

  • Hematuria


    A tumor caused by RCC can cause you to have blood in your urine, a phenomenon known as hematuria. The amount of blood may be visible, giving your urine a pink tint. It may also be a microscopic amount, only visible by examining a urine sample under a microscope or by performing a test to detect small amounts of blood.

  • Lower Back Pain

    Lower Back Pain

    A tumor in one or both kidneys that has grown to a significant size can cause pain. If you have pain that is originating in your kidney, you will feel pain in your lower back and to the side, just below the rib cage. Pain caused by a tumor will be steady and will not go away, as compared to pain from a strained muscle, which may change or lessen with movement.

  • Lump


    If a kidney tumor caused by RCC has grown very large, it may produce a noticeable lump that extends outward from your body. The lump will be low in your abdomen, either on your back, under the rib cage, or on your side. To produce such a lump, the tumor has to be fairly large.

  • Anemia


    Anemia is a condition that can be caused by many different factors. It refers to having low levels of iron in the blood. Iron is needed for the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all parts of the body, providing energy. RCC can cause anemia, which may make you feel tired, sluggish, and run down.

  • Fatigue


    Having a tumor in your kidney may cause you to feel fatigued. One reason may be anemia caused by the cancer. Or, your fatigue could be a result of the cancer cells competing with your healthy cells for nutrients. You may be fatigued for many reasons, such as having a cold, but if you feel unusually tired for a long period of time and you cannot explain it, contact your doctor.

  • Fever


    RCC may cause you to have a fever. A fever is the natural result of your immune system fighting an infection, so having a fever may be caused by a number of illnesses. If you have a fever and no other symptoms of a cold or the flu, and if the fever does not go away after several days, you need to see your doctor.

  • Weight Loss

    Weight Loss

    Unexplained weight loss is a possible symptom of RCC. If you are not dieting, or your weight loss is accompanied by fatigue and fever, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis. Cancer cells in the kidney can out-compete your healthy cells for nutrients, leading to unintentional weight loss.

  • Other Symptoms

    Other Symptoms

    The previous listed symptoms are the most common in the later stages of RCC. Other symptoms that are not as common may include:

    • unusual hair growth (in women)
    • vision problems
    • pale skin
    • swelling of the veins around one or both testicles
  • Outlook


    If you experience any of the symptoms that are common with later stage RCC, don’t automatically assume you have cancer. These symptoms can be caused by a wide range of conditions, many of which are not serious. If you do have RCC, you have treatment options that have good odds of success. The earlier you receive a diagnosis for the cancer, the greater the chance that treatment can eliminate it.


  • General Information About Renal Cell Cancer. (2013, November 14). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved January 28, 2014, from www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/renalcell/Patient/page1#Keypoint5
  • Kidney Cancer (Adult) – Renal Cell Carcinoma. (2013, January 18). American Cancer Society. Retrieved January 28, 2014, from http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003107-pdf.pdf
  • Renal Cell Carcinoma. (2013, March 4). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved January 28, 2014, from www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000516.htm