Kidney Cancer Care at Kaiser Permanente

Patients who are diagnosed with kidney cancer (also called renal cancer) receive coordinated and compassionate care at Kaiser Permanente medical offices. Our team of kidney specialists (nephrologists), surgeons, urologists, and cancer specialists work closely together. They use the latest research and technology to make sure our patients receive the most effective treatment plan, tailored to their individual needs.

What Is Kidney Cancer?

The kidneys are a pair of organs that are part of the urinary tract. In addition to making urine by taking wastes and extra water from your blood, the kidneys also help control blood pressure and make red blood cells.

Kidney cancer cells can start in the part of the kidney that collects urine or in its tiny tubes which help filter and clean the blood. Treatment depends on exactly which cells are involved and in what part of the kidney the cancer started.  

Kidney cancer occurs more often in persons age 55 and older. Risk for kidney cancer increases if you smoke cigarettes, are obese, have high blood pressure, or have a family history of kidney cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

Some common symptoms of kidney cancer are:

  • Blood in the urine
  • A lump in the abdomen
  • A pain in the back or side that doesn't go away
  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Anemia (when the body does not produce enough red blood cells)

Conditions other than kidney cancer can also cause these symptoms. Check with your doctor if you have any these signs or symptoms so you can be tested and treated right away.

To learn more, see the National Cancer Institute: Kidney Cancer.