Kidney cancer

Kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer, is an umbrella term for all kinds of cancer that occur in the kidneys. Approximately 2600 people in the Netherlands are diagnosed with kidney cancer every year. The most common type of kidney cancer develops in the bile ducts where blood is filtered. The most common type of kidney cancer is clear cell renal cell carcinoma. 10% of all cases of kidney cancer are urothelial cell tumors. This is also known as renal pelvis or ureter cancer and develops in the cells in the inner lining of the kidney, ureter, or bladder. This cancer type requires a different treatment. Read more about it here.

Find out more about the causes and symptoms, the most commonly used diagnostic tests and treatment types, and our trials for kidney tumors on this page. 


Our multidisciplinary treatment team is specialized in kidney cancer care. We are members of several European committees such as one for the development of guidelines for kidney cancer. We collaborate in (inter)national research and initiate our own studies. We collaborate on the curriculum for the urology training program and train young specialists looking to specialize in urology. Urologists who have completed their education can enroll in an advanced internship in urologic oncology. This allows us to share our knowledge and remain up to date on the latest (international) developments. 

Why the NKI?

  • Expertise and the highest quality of care.
  • We fully integrate research and care which allows us to treat all our patients in accordance with the latest developments and treatment options.
  • Our multidisciplinary team can give you a fully personalized recommendation (urologist, clinical nurse specialist, internist, radiation oncologist, pathologist, nuclear medicine specialist, and interventional radiologist).
  • We offer all possible treatment options at the Netherlands Cancer Institute.
  • Strong focus on supportive care by our wound nurses, psychological guidance, and a smoking cessation clinic at our Survivorship Center.

Causes and symptoms kidney cancer

Kidney cancer is twice as common in men as in women. People over the age of 45 have an increased risk of developing renal cancer, with most patients being between the ages of 65 and 80. Smoking, high blood pressure or weight, and hereditary genetic factors also influence the risk of developing kidney cancer.

Symptoms kidney cancer

Kidney tumors usually don't cause symptoms at first. The tumor may be discovered during an ultrasound or abdominal CT scan that is being done for other reasons.

If the tumor increases in size, you will experience symptoms like:

  • blood in the urine;
  • pain in your side of your back;
  • noticeable swelling in the abdomen;
  • persistent fever;
  • lethargy;
  • fatigue without a clear cause;
  • night sweats;
  • unexplained weight loss;
  • loss of appetite.
7 days

rapid diagnostics

You can usually get rapid diagnostics within seven days


Om de diagnose nierkanker te stellen, kunnen de volgende onderzoeken worden verricht

Treatment options

Your exact treatment will depend on several factors such as the type and size of the tumor, and whether your cancer is localized or metastatic. Your overall health and shape may also affect your options. 


We differentiate between two types of kidney cancer:
Localized kidney cancer
The tumor growth is limited to the kidney itself. 
Metastatic kidney cancer
Besides the tumor in the kidney, metastases are found in the surrounding blood vessels or lymph nodes and organs.

Both types of cancer require different treatment. We offer treatment for both types at the Netherlands Cancer Institute.

Behandeling bij gelokaliseerde nierkanker

De zogenaamde niersparende behandelingen (waarbij alleen de tumor verwijderd of behandeld wordt) kunnen uitgevoerd worden met de Da Vinci operatierobot, via interventieradiologie (ablatie) of soms via bestraling (radiotherapie).

Behandeling bij uitgezaaide nierkanker

De behandelingen van uitgezaaide nierkanker zijn niet gericht op genezing, maar op het verlengen van het leven. Of u voor een van de onderstaande behandelingen in aanmerking komt hangt van verschillende factoren af, zoals het type nierkanker, uw medische voorgeschiedenis, of u eerder bent behandeld met immuuntherapie of doelgerichte therapie en uw lichamelijke conditie.



At the Netherlands Cancer Institute we work hard to find new innovative treatments. We investigate new possibilities and test them through trials.

Some of our trials can be viewed in our Trialapp.

Trialapp in Google Play Store
Trialapp in Apple Store

Whether you qualify for participation in one of our trials will depend on many different factors. If you have any questions, please consult your practicing physician or clinical nurse specialist.

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