The kidney performs many other critical bodily functions, such as controlling fluid balance, regulating electrolytes, preventing acid buildup, eliminating waste products and regulating blood pressure. The kidney also manufactures a hormone called erythropoietin that stimulates the production of red blood cells. When the kidneys are damaged or when a significant portion of kidney tissue is removed, many of the processes listed above may suffer or shut down.
The most common type of kidney cancer in adults is renal cell cancer, which occurs slightly more often in males and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 50 and 70. Renal cell cancer is a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in tubules of the kidney and grow into a mass called a tumor. These tiny tubules filter and clean the blood, taking out waste products and making urine. In most cases, a single tumor develops, although more than one tumor can develop within one or both kidneys.