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Renal Cell Cancer (cont.)

What Are Renal Cell Carcinoma Symptoms and Signs?

In its early stages, renal cell cancer usually causes no noticeable symptoms. Symptoms may occur only when the cancer grows and begins to press on surrounding tissues or spread to other parts of the body. The symptoms vary considerably from person to person. Some people never develop any symptoms before the disease is discovered; the cancer is found when they undergo imaging tests, such as a CT scan, for another reason. In a study in the Journal of Urology, approximately 53% of people with localized renal cell carcinoma had no symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of renal cell cancer may include the following:

Symptoms such as a mass that can be felt in the flank, pain in the kidney region, or weight loss are usually signs of advanced cancer. The early kidney cancers are usually asymptomatic, and either detected incidentally while testing for some other condition, or because blood found in the urine, which may or may not be visible to the patient.

Other symptoms may result from metastatic renal cell cancer in the bones, lungs, or elsewhere. If the disease attacks the bones, for example, it can cause bone pain, which is deep and achy.

Renal cell cancer can also cause a number of conditions called paraneoplastic syndromes. These are problems caused by the tumor when it releases cytokines (chemicals involved with the immune system) or hormones. Cytokines may or may not cause symptoms, and a person may unknowingly have one or more of the following symptoms.

  • High blood pressure
  • Hypercalcemia (high level of calcium in the blood)
  • Polycythemia ("high blood" due to an abnormally high number of red blood cells)
  • Liver disorders
  • Muscle weakness
  • Neuropathy (numbness, tingling, or burning pain in one or more areas)
  • Amyloidosis (abnormal protein deposition in the body)
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/14/2015
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Renal Cell Cancer:

Renal Cell Carcinoma - Metastasis

Had your renal cell carcinoma metastasized by the time it was diagnosed?

Renal Cell Carcinoma - Treatment

What treatment has been effective for your renal cell carcinoma?

Renal Cell Carcinoma - Symptoms and Signs

The symptoms and signs of renal cell carcinoma can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms and signs at the onset of your disease?


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Renal Cell Carcinoma »

Renal cell carcinoma accounts for approximately 3% of adult malignancies and 90-95% of neoplasms arising from the kidney.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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