Kidney Cancer Detection and Diagnosis

If you experience symptoms of kidney cancer, your doctor will need to perform a complete medical history and physical exam for kidney cancer detection. In addition, your physicians will most likely have you undergo a series of diagnostic tests that will help confirm kidney cancer and determine its staging.

Types of Diagnostic Tests for Kidney Cancer

If your doctor suspects that you may have kidney cancer, you may undergo these diagnostic tests for kidney cancer detection and diagnosis:

Urine tests: A sample of your urine will be tested to see if it contains blood. This test can detect even very small traces of blood in urine that are invisible to the naked eye.

Blood tests: Blood tests will count the number of each of the different kinds of blood cells to determine if there are too few red blood cells (anemia).

Intravenous pyelogram (IVP): This is a special type of X-ray. During an IVP, a special dye containing iodine is given through a needle inserted into a vein, and a series of X-rays are taken. The dye travels through your bloodstream and eventually into your kidneys, making your kidneys easier to see on the diagnostic images.

Computed tomography (CT) scan: This advanced X-ray system uses a computer to create a series of images, or slices of your body to determine whether cancer is present in your body. 

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Using a large magnet, radio waves and a computer, MRI tests produce detailed body images used in diagnosis of kidney cancer.

Ultrasound: Using high-frequency sound waves transmitted throughout your body tissues, ultrasound creates body images that are displayed on a computer screen. Ultrasound images prove helpful in detecting kidney tumors because they have a different density than healthy tissues.

Arteriogram: This series of X-ray images are captured after a contrast solution is injectedthat help your blood vessels become more visible.

Fine needle aspiration biopsy: During this procedure, a thin needle is inserted into the tumor, and a small sample of the tissue is removed (biopsy). A pathologist will look at the tissue under the microscope to see if there are any cancer cells.

Most cancers are grouped by stage, a description of the cancer that helps to plan your treatment. The cancer stage is based on the tumor’s location and size, whether lymph nodes are involved and how far the cancer has spread to other tissues or organs, if any. Information from the tests above helps determine your stage of cancer.

For more information, call 800-252-2990 or learn about Aurora’s Second Opinion Program or call 888-649-6892.