Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Cancer Kidney Anatomy

To better understand renal cell carcinoma, it helps to understand the anatomy of the kidneys.

The kidneys are located in the back of the abdomen, below the ribcage and on either side of the spine. Each kidney weighs about 1/4 pound (0.6 kg) and is about the size of a fist.

The kidneys filter waste from the bloodstream and produce urine. The kidneys also regulate the salt and water balance for the body.


  • Kidney
  • Kidney cross section
  • Kidney cross section close-up
  • Kidney collecting system
  • Genitourinary system

Last Updated: Nov 4, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Cancer Kidney References
  1. Amato RJ. Renal cell carcinoma: review of novel single-agent therapeutics and combination regimens. Ann Oncol. 2005 Jan;16(1):7-15. [15598929]
  2. Baird AD, Woolfenden KA, Desmond AD, Fordham MV, Parsons KF. Outcome and survival with nonsurgical management of renal cell carcinoma. BJU Int. 2003 May;91(7):600-2. [12699467]
  3. Nassir A, Jollimore J, Gupta R, Bell D, Norman R. Multilocular cystic renal cell carcinoma: a series of 12 cases and review of the literature. Urology. 2002 Sep;60(3):421-7. [12350478]
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