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Kidneys  
Kidneys and Renal Vessels

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Kidney cancer, also called renal cancer, refers to a cancer that begins in the kidneys. The kidneys are organs that filter the blood to remove liquid waste products and produce urine. Humans have two kidneys, a left and a right.

Kidney cancer occurs when cells in the kidney divide without control or order. Normally, cells divide in a regulated manner. If cells keep dividing uncontrollably when new cells are not needed, a mass of tissue forms, called a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to malignant tumors, which can invade nearby tissues and can spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor does not invade or spread.

Different types of cancer can develop in the kidneys. The most common is renal cell carcinoma. The other types of cancer that can develop in the kidneys are transitional cell carcinoma, Wilms’ tumors, and renal sarcomas.

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