Kidney Cancer

What is kidney cancer?

Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer, and can spread to other areas of the body. Kidney cancer is a cancer that starts in the kidneys. It is still called kidney cancer even if it spreads to other parts of the body.

Kidney cancer is 7th most common cancer in the UK (14th most common worldwide) and an increase of new cases of 2% has been seen in the last twenty years. About half of the new cases of kidney cancer are among people aged 70 and above. 

How is kidney cancer usually treated?

A number of factors will influence the treatment given to treat kidney cancer; including the size and location of the cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

Surgery to remove the kidney (or part of a kidney) is currently the best treatment for kidney cancer that hasn't spread to another part of the body. After surgery some patients in the UK and Spain may be eligible to receive immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a treatment that uses your own immune system to fight cancer. If immunotherapy is not suitable for you or in you live in a country where immunotherapy is not available, the standard of care after surgery is ‘active monitoring’. This means no further treatment, but having regular checks so that if the cancer does come back further treatment options can be considered as early as possible.

If kidney cancer has spread to other parts of the body (advanced cancer) then targeted drugs may be used to try to slow or stop the growth of the cancer. Surgery to remove the kidney can also be an option in some cases.

More information

For more information about kidney cancer, please visit the following useful links:

Cancer Research UK

Kidney Cancer UK