Kidney cancer refers to cancer that develops within the kidney. The kidney plays an important role in removing excess water, salt and waste products from the blood which then becomes urine, alongside helping control certain processes in the body such blood pressure.
The types of kidney cancer include:
- Renal cell carcinoma – cancer that develops in the kidney’s filtration system (proximal renal tubules). This is the most common type of kidney cancer, accounting for 90% of all kidney cancer diagnoses.
- Urothelial carcinoma – cancer that develops in the transitional cells which line the renal pelvis (where the ureters meet the kidneys). This accounts for 5-10% of all kidney cancer cases and includes Hürthle cell carcinoma
- Wilms tumour – cancer that develops in the kidneys from the abnormal growth of early kidney cells, most commonly in children
- Renal sarcoma – rare cancer that develops in the connective tissue or blood vessels of the kidney. This accounts for less than 1% of all kidney cancer diagnoses
Kidney cancer is the seventh most common cancer in Australia, with 2 408 men and 1 219 women diagnosed each year.