Kidney cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in the United States, affecting more than 600,000 people. Some people may have a higher risk.
Though not as common as skin, breast, prostate, or lung cancer, kidney cancer still affects millions of people worldwide.
Keep reading to learn more about the effects of kidney cancer, who’s most at risk, and what the outlook looks like for people who receive a diagnosis.
We use “women” and “men” in this article to reflect the terms used in the studies cited. But your gender identity may not align with how your body responds to this disease. Your doctor can better help you understand how your specific circumstances will translate into risk factors, diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment.
Kidney cancer is one of the 10 most common cancers in the United States and the 14th most common cancer in the world. The United States has the 7th highest kidney cancer rate in the world, more than double the global rate.
More than 600,000 U.S. people were living with kidney cancer in 2020, according to the
What are the odds of getting kidney cancer?
According to the
American Cancer Society, about 1 in 46 U.S. men will develop kidney cancer in their lifetime, while about 1 in 80 women will develop it.
Your risk of kidney cancer
Diagnoses most frequently occur in people ages 65 to 74, with
In the United States, kidney cancer is
According to a
American Indian and Alaska Native populations also have
Sex and gender
People assigned male at birth are
Genetics and family history
Your risk is also higher if you have a close relative (
Modifiable risk factors
Risk factors that may be within your control include:
Early symptoms of kidney cancer
Kidney cancer, in its early stages, often doesn’t cause any symptoms. More advanced kidney cancer may cause:
- blood in your urine
- low back pain
- a lump in your lower back or the side of your waist
- unexplained weight loss
- night sweats
These symptoms are most often signs of other, less serious conditions. Reviewing your symptoms with a doctor can help identify the cause.
Kidney cancer affects people of all ages but is most common among older adults. Only
The younger you are at diagnosis, the better your survival odds. The
Your outlook with kidney cancer is better if it hasn’t spread to other organs. But the growth rate of kidney cancer can be highly variable.
According to a
How fast kidney cancer spreads may also depend on the type of kidney cancer. For example, papillary RCC may be
Is kidney cancer usually caught early?
- Early kidney cancers often don’t cause symptoms.
- Doctors can’t detect kidney tumors in a physical exam because your kidneys are deep inside your body.
- There are no regular screening tests for kidney cancer if you’re not someone with a higher risk.
Your outlook with kidney cancer depends on many factors, including:
According to the
- 93% for cancer that has not spread beyond the kidneys
- 72% for cancer that has spread to nearby structures like lymph nodes
- 15% for cancer that has spread to distant organs and tissues
The 5-year survival rate is the percentage of people with the disease who are still alive after 5 years compared with people who don’t have the disease.
While some of the risk factors for kidney cancer may not be within your control, you can still act on the things that are.
Experts recommend the following tips for reducing your kidney cancer risk:
Kidney cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in the United States. It usually affects older adults, with the median age of diagnosis being
Groups at greater risk include:
- non-Hispanic Blacks, American Indians, and Alaska Natives
- people assigned male at birth
- people with a family history of kidney cancer
Regardless of your risk, you can take steps to reduce your chances of developing kidney cancer and improve your overall kidney health. You might start by adjusting your diet and avoiding smoking.