What You Need to Know About Kidney Cancer

Cancer of the kidney is commonly known as renal cell carcinoma, or RCC. Other types of cancers can develop in the kidneys, but they are less common. In fact, the American Cancer Society predicts that of approximately 32,000 new cases of kidney cancer diagnosed, 90 percent will be RCC. RCC is usually diagnosed in patients between 50-70 years of age.

Risk Factors

Although there is no determined cause of kidney cancer, studies indicate that smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop cancer and that there may be a genetic component.


Unfortunately, most renal cell cancers do not cause symptoms in the early stage of development. Abdominal pain and or blood in the urine should be investigated. The primary means of discovery usually is x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI.


Radial Nephrectomy - For a patient with a tumor localized in the kidney, the standard of care would be a surgical procedure called a radical nephrectomy (removal of the kidney and adrenal gland).

Laparoscopic Nephrectomy - Several surgeons at The Scott Department of Urology are skilled in performing the minimally invasive laparoscopic nephrectomy as well as the conventional open procedure.