Harvard Women's Health Watch

By the way, doctor: Should I be worried about a kidney cyst?

Q. Recently, I had a pelvic ultrasound to evaluate uterine fibroids. During the procedure, the radiologist found a cyst in one of my kidneys. Should I be concerned about kidney cancer?

A. Kidney (or renal) cysts are small, fluid-filled sacs in the kidneys; they're usually harmless and rarely cause symptoms. Such cysts are quite common, and many people have them without knowing it. The likelihood of having one or more cysts increases with age — from 5% of people in their 30s to more than 36% of those in their 70s. In most cases, cysts are discovered incidentally during an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI scan for some other health reason.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »