Kidney Cancer

Risk Factors

  • Smoking
  • Obesity – Some doctors think obesity is a factor in about 2 out of 10 people who get this cancer.
  • Workplace Exposures – Asbestos, cadmium (a type of metal), some herbicides, benzene, and organic solvents, particularly trichloroethylene.
  • Family History – This risk is highest in brothers or sisters of those with the cancer.
  • Von Hippel-Lindau Disease
  • Hereditary Papillary Renal Cell Carcinoma
  • Hereditary Leiomyoma Renal Cell Carcinoma
  • Birt-Hogg-Dube (BHD) Syndrome
  • Familial Renal Cancer
  • Hereditary renal Oncocytoma
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Certain Medicines – Phenacetin, once a popular non-prescription pain reliever, has been linked to renal cell cancer in the past.
  • Advanced Kidney Disease
  • Gender – Renal cell carcinoma is about twice as common in men.
  • Race – African Americans have a slightly higher rate.

Warning Signs & Symptoms

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Low back pain on one side (not caused by injury)
  • A mass (lump) on the side or lower back
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Weight loss not caused by dieting
  • Fever that is not caused by an infection and that doesn’t go away after a few weeks
  • Anemia (low red blood cell counts)


These symptoms may be caused by cancer, but more often they are caused by other, benign, diseases. for example, blood in the urine can be a sign of kidney, bladder, or prostate cancer, but most often it is caused by a bladder infection or a kidney stone. Still, if you have any of these symptoms, consult a doctor so that the cause can be evaluated and treated, if needed. If it is cancer, ignoring symptoms may alloq it to progress to a more advanced stage and lower your chance for effective treatment.

Early Detection Saves Lives!

This information was provided by the American Cancer Society. © 2013 American Cancer Society, Inc. All rights reserved. The American Cancer Society is a qualified 501[c][3] tax-exempt organization.