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If kidney cancer spreads

Cancer cells can spread from the kidney to other parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis.

Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care. If kidney cancer spreads, it can spread to the following:

  • lymph nodes around the kidney
  • the main vein in the kidney (called the renal vein)
  • the large vein in the abdomen leading to the heart (called the vena cava)
  • adrenal glands
  • the other kidney
  • lungs
  • liver
  • bones
  • brain

adrenal gland

A small gland on top of each kidney that produces a variety of hormones involved in different body functions, including metabolism (the chemical processes needed for cell function, growth and reproduction), heart rate, blood pressure and controlling blood sugar levels.

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