Does Kidney Cancer Cause Lower Back Pain?

Kidney (renal) cancer is a condition in which cells in the kidney get altered and become malignant (cancerous), growing out of control. The cancer can be significant to impair with the kidney function and cause some serious complications. There are a number of symptoms of the condition. Does it also cause lower back pain?

Where are kidneys located in the body?

Kidneys play a key role in your urinary system. They are very important on what to remove and what to keep in your blood. About 200 quarts of blood is filtered by the kidneys every day. Without them, your circulation system is affected and the body loses its healthy-balanced blood.

They also produce essential hormones to help regulate red blood cell production, keep your bones strong, and other bodily functions. They also produce rennin, hormones that help control blood pressure. Ironically, high blood pressure (hypertension) is the leading cause of kidney disease.


You have two kidneys – bean-shaped organs located behind the stomach, upper abdominal area against the back on both sides of the spine (below the lower ribs) – and closer to the back than the front of the body. Each about the size of your fist!

How is kidney cancer diagnosed?

There is usually no early symptom of the condition. The signs and symptom are likely to occur when it has become advanced. Therefore if you are at high risk of developing the condition, you may be asked to take a routine screening such as urinalysis (urine test) which can be a part of your complete medical checkup.

Early diagnosis of this cancer is important for the prognosis and outlook of patient. It can be treated more easily if caught early. On the other hand, advanced cancer is more difficult to treat and has worse life expectancy.

Tests and procedures to diagnose kidney cancer include:

  1. Urine and blood tests. These are often used to help diagnose numerous different medical conditions, including kidney cancer. Something that goes awry in the blood and urine can help analyze the health of your kidneys. But the result is usually not final. Other further tests are often required for a clearly diagnosis.
  2. Imaging tests. They are usually used to help find any abnormality in the kidneys. These include CT-scan, MRI test, and ultrasound scan.
  3. Biopsy, a minor surgical procedure to take a small sample of cells or tissues of the kidneys – especially from a suspicious area with abnormality. This sample is then tested and closely analyzed under microscope to find any sign of cancer.

Kidney cancer can cause back pain

Pain is common in people with cancer. It can be a consequence of cancer growth that has become large enough to cause extra pressure on nerves, bones, or other organs in the body. Or it may be caused by some cancer treatments. Both cancer and its treatments are difficult to cope!

Depending on the cause, the pain can be acute or chronic. Acute means it usually lasts at short time. And chronic means it can come and go. Sometime cancer pain may also be there all the time, causing persistent pain.

The location of kidneys and the back is quite close. Even if compared to the front of the body, the kidneys are relatively closer to the back, as noted before. That’s why pain arising from the kidneys often affects the back.

Back pain, especially in the upper back below the ribs (flank area) is one of possible kidney cancer symptoms. But this symptom can also be attributed by a number of different conditions. Having it doesn’t mean you definitely have cancer in the kidney.

It’s not unusual to attribute pain in the side (flank area) of the upper back to the kidneys. However more often than not, the kidneys probably are not the cause. Even though if you have back pain arising from the kidneys, kidney cancer is also not the single answer! For instance, kidney infection and kidney stones are often to blame.

Does kidney cancer cause lower back pain, too?

image_illustration413Lower back pain is a common symptom that can affect anyone at some point in live. How does it feel? This ranges from a dull ache to shooting /stabbing sensation. You may find difficulty to move or stand up straight.

Fortunately, many times it is a mild problem. It often improves and gets better on its own. You might also like to read the effective home remedies to help relieve low back pain in here!

But sometime it may also difficult to improve, depending on the underlying cause. See a doctor promptly if it doesn’t get better within 72 hours!

In general, you’re at high risk of the condition if you have the following risk factors:

  1. You are a sedentary individual. Lack of physical activity is bad for your overall health, including for back health.
  2. Overweight and obesity. More pounds of extra weight you gain can give more pressure on your back.
  3. If you work at workplace that often requires heavy lifting.
  4. And poor posture.

Although most of the time low back pain is a minor condition, it can also be associated with a number of particular conditions from muscle strain to chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia (a chronic syndrome that affects soft tissues & muscles) and spinal stenosis (a condition characterized by the space around the spinal cord that get narrowed).

It seems that the problem can be attributed by numerous different causes. How about kidney cancer?

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