Kidney Cancer

What Is It?

The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped, fist-sized organs below the rib cage in the back of the abdomen. One sits on each side of the spine. They filter waste products, excess water, and salt from the blood. These organs regulate the body's balance of fluids. They also produce hormones that monitor blood pressure and regulate the production of red blood cells.

Patients whose kidneys have failed or don't work well generally need dialysis or a kidney transplant. During dialysis, a machine takes on the job of filtering waste products from the blood.

Kidney cancer occurs when abnormal kidney cells grow and divide uncontrollably. The cells invade and destroy the normal kidney tissue, and they can spread (metastasize) to other organs. Even if a person has kidney cancer, their kidneys may still function normally.

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