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Renal Cancer


Renal cancer

begins in the kidney or ureters. The ureters are the tubes that connect your kidneys to your bladder. Urine is made in the kidneys, collects in the bladder, and is emptied from your body through your urethra.

Kidney, Ureters, Bladder

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Pink, red, or brown urine
  • Abdominal pain or pain in your side
  • A lump or growth in your abdomen or side
  • Swollen legs or feet, or swelling in your scrotum (males)
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Fatigue, fever, or night sweats

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You cannot urinate.
  • You have severe fatigue or confusion.

Contact your urologist or oncologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your pain does not go away after you take pain medicine.
  • You have new or worsening pain.
  • You have swelling in your legs or feet.
  • You lose more weight than your healthcare provider said is okay.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for renal cancer

may include any of the following:

  • Surgery is the main treatment for renal cancer. Your entire kidney may be removed, or only the part where the tumor is found. Lymph nodes or other tissues that contain cancer cells may also be removed.
  • Procedures may be used to kill the cancer cells. Examples include cryosurgery, radiofrequency ablation, and arterial embolization. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about these procedures.
  • Targeted therapy is medicine given to target and kill cancer cells. It may shrink a kidney tumor or slow its growth.
  • Immunotherapy is medicine to help your immune system fight the cancer cells.


  • Do not smoke. Nicotine can damage blood vessels and make it more difficult to manage renal cancer. Smoking also increases your risk for new or returning cancer. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol can damage your kidneys and make it hard to manage renal cancer. Alcohol can also increase your risk for dehydration.
  • Drink liquids as directed. Liquids will help prevent constipation and fluid loss caused by vomiting or diarrhea. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you limit red meat. You need to eat enough calories to help prevent weight loss and increase your energy level. You also need protein to give you strength. If you do not feel hungry, eat small amounts often instead of large meals. Your healthcare provider or dietitian to help you plan your meals.
  • Exercise as directed. Exercise can increase your energy level and appetite. Ask your healthcare provider how much exercise you need and which exercises are best for you.

For more information and support:

It may be difficult for you and your family to go through cancer and cancer treatments. Join a support group or talk with others who have gone through treatment.

  • American Cancer Society
    250 Williams Street
    Atlanta , GA 30303
    Phone: 1- 800 - 227-2345
    Web Address:
  • National Cancer Institute
    6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 300
    Bethesda , MD 20892-8322
    Phone: 1- 800 - 422-6237
    Web Address:

Follow up with your urologist or oncologist as directed:

You will need to see your urologist or oncologist for treatment or tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Renal Cancer (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.