Kidney Cancer Cheat Sheet

In the United States, more than 22,000 women are diagnosed with kidney cancer annually.  Risk factors and warning signs may include:

Risk factors:

  • I am a smoker
  • I am overweight or obese
  • I have high blood pressure
  • I am exposed to cadmium (batteries, paint, or welding materials) or asbestos at work
  • I am on long-term dialysis
  • There is a history of kidney cancer in my family
  • I have Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome
  • I have Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome

Early stage kidney cancer often has no symptoms.  Symptoms that develop as the tumor grows may include:

Warning signs:

  • Hematuria (blood in the urine)
  • Pain or pressure in the side or back
  • A mass or lump in the side or back
  • Swelling of the ankles and legs
  • High blood pressure, or anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Recurrent fever (not from cold, flu, or other infection)

These symptoms can often be similar to other diseases and conditions. However, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor right away. You should discuss which of the following diagnostic tools may be appropriate for you: Blood & Urine tests, Ultrasound, CT Scan, MRI, Biopsy.

Contact The National Women’s Health Information Center for information on health insurance coverage or free clinics. Visit or call 1-800-994-9662. 

Remember, early detection equals survival!

This information was provided by the American Cancer Society and the Kidney Cancer Association.

This information was reviewed by the Cancer Schmancer Medical Advisory Board.

Last updated: August 2010