Symptoms and diagnosis of kidney cancer


What are the symptoms of kidney cancer?

The signs of early kidney cancer may be vague at first. Often it is discovered by chance during a scan done for another reason. The main symptoms of kidney cancer are:

  • Blood in your urine
  • A lump in the kidney area
  • Painful spasms in your kidney tubes or bladder
  • A dull pain in your side
  • High temperatures and night sweats
  • Tiredness
  • Weight loss

Blood in your urine is the most common symptom of kidney cancer. The blood may not be there all the time but might come and go. Remember the above symptoms can be caused by complaints other than cancer too. For example, an infection, kidney stones or an enlarged prostate gland. Do make sure to have them checked by your doctor, especially if you have blood in your urine. For more information, contact the National Cancer Helpline 1800 200 700.


Testing for kidney cancer when you have no symptoms is called screening. There is no national kidney cancer screening programme in Ireland at present. Talk to your GP if you feel you or your family are at high risk.


First, visit your family doctor (GP) if you are worried about any symptoms. He or she will examine you and ask some questions about your health. Your urine may be tested for blood and cancer cells. Blood tests will be taken to check your general health as well as a chest X-ray.
If your doctor has concerns about you, he or she will refer you to a hospital specialist. The specialist may arrange more tests, such as:

  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Ultrasound scan

Learn more about the above tests

Call our National Cancer Helpline

Freephone 1800 200 700 to talk to a specialist cancer nurse
It's open Monday-Thursday from 9am to 7pm and Friday from 9am to 5pm