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Kidney Cancer

When identified and treated early, kidney cancer has a good long-term outlook. Your kidneys are two fist-size organs in your abdomen next to your spine. The kidneys remove water and waste from your blood, keeping your body healthy.

Men and individuals who have a family history of kidney cancer are more likely to develop the disease. Smoking, obesity and other kidney diseases also increase your risk for developing kidney cancer.

Kidney cancer, called renal cell carcinoma or renal cancer, causes tumors in the tiny tubules that filter your blood. As the tumors grow, they prevent your body from adequately filtering waste and begin causing symptoms of kidney cancer such as:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain in the side
  • A lump in the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue

Symptoms of kidney cancer may appear to be caused by other conditions, such as a urinary tract infection or kidney stones. Because early detection is so important, be sure to report these symptoms to your physician when they appear.

In early stages, kidney cancer remains only in your kidney. As it progresses, it can spread to the closest lymph nodes or to bone, lung or liver tissue. Your treatment depends on whether the cancer is only in your kidney or has spread to other tissues. If cancer is only in the kidney, part, or all, of your kidney may be removed.

Kidney cancer requires comprehensive care and support. Indiana University Health specialists have extensive experience in providing high-quality, personalized care. We work with you to develop a treatment plan specific to your condition, needs and preferences. Our multidisciplinary team approach combines the expertise and knowledge of specialists in urology, medical oncology, interventional radiology and other disciplines so you have a wide range of treatment options.

Our physicians are dedicated to continuing to improve care for kidney cancer. At IU Health, we strive to use minimally invasive and robotic surgery techniques to reduce the impact of surgery on your body. 

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Kidney Cancer Treatment Information

The primary treatment for kidney cancer is surgical removal of the affected area of the kidney or of the entire kidney. Though surgery used to require a large incision, minimally invasive techniques allow our surgeons to remove all or part of the kidney through a tiny incision. We perform about 80 percent of kidney removals with minimally invasive techniques, including laparoscopic surgery, robotic surgery and percutaneous procedures (using interventional radiology to remove tumors from the kidney through a tiny incision in a single blood vessel). Kidney cancer does not respond well to chemotherapy so surgery at an early stage is important for effective treatment.

New advances are changing the way we treat kidney cancer, shortening healing times and improving outcomes. Treatment of kidney cancer at IU Health is very advanced. We publish the results of our surgeries in medical journals, sharing our outcomes internationally and allowing other doctors to learn from our techniques.

Kidney Cancer Locations & Physicians

Use the search options below to find treatments available in your area. 

Find a Specialist

Enter a Zip Code to find a specialist at IU Health.

Kidney Cancer Support Services

Learning about your condition may help you prepare questions for your doctor. The sites below offer reliable information for you and your family.