Diagnosing kidney cancer
Tests and procedures used to diagnose kidney cancer include:
- Blood and urine tests. Tests of your blood and your urine may give your doctor clues about what's causing your signs and symptoms.
- Imaging tests. Imaging tests allow your doctor to visualize a kidney tumor or abnormality. Imaging tests might include ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
- Removing a sample of kidney tissue (biopsy). In certain cases, your doctor may recommend a procedure to remove a small sample of cells (biopsy) from a suspicious area of your kidney. The sample is tested in a lab to look for signs of cancer.
Kidney cancer staging
Once your doctor diagnoses kidney cancer, the next step is to determine the extent, or stage, of the cancer. Staging tests for kidney cancer may include additional CT scans or other imaging tests your doctor feels are appropriate.
Then your doctor assigns a number, called a stage, to your cancer. Kidney cancer stages include:
Aug. 16, 2013
- Stage I. At this stage, the tumor can be up to 2 3/4 inches (7 centimeters) in diameter. The tumor is confined to the kidney.
- Stage II. A stage II kidney cancer is larger than a stage I tumor, but is still confined to the kidney.
- Stage III. At this stage, the tumor extends beyond the kidney to the surrounding tissue and may also have spread to a nearby lymph node.
- Stage IV. Cancer spreads outside the kidney, to multiple lymph nodes or to distant parts of the body, such as the bones, liver or lungs.
- Kidney cancer. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/PDF/kidney.pdf. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- Abeloff MD, et al. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-4/0/1709/0.html. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- What you need to know about kidney cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/kidney/allpages/print. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- Distress management. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/PDF/distress.pdf. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1445/0.html. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- Proleukin (prescribing information). San Diego, Calif.: Prometheus Laboratories Inc.; 2012. http://www.proleukin.com/mrcc. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- Castle EP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz. July 12, 2013.
- Cancer Facts & Figures 2013. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/research/cancerfactsstatistics/cancerfactsfigures2013/index. Accessed July 30, 2013.
- Cancer Facts & Figures 2012. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/research/cancerfactsstatistics/cancerfactsfigures2012/index. Accessed July 30, 2013.
- Cancer Facts & Figures 2011. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/research/cancerfactsstatistics/cancerfactsfigures2011/index. Accessed July 30, 2013.
- Cancer Facts & Figures 2010. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/research/cancerfactsstatistics/cancerfactsfigures2010/index. Accessed July 30, 2013.
- Golden AK. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 30, 2013.