You'll likely start by seeing your primary care doctor if you have signs or symptoms that worry you. If your doctor suspects you may have kidney cancer, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in urinary tract diseases and conditions (urologist) or to a doctor who treats cancer (oncologist).
Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be hard to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
What you can do
At the time you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet. Then make a list of:
- Symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for your appointment
- Key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes
- All medications (prescription and over-the-counter), vitamins, herbs or other supplements that you're taking
- Questions to ask your doctor
List your questions from most to least important in case time runs out. Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Do I have kidney cancer?
- If so, has my cancer spread beyond my kidney?
- Will I need more tests?
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the potential side effects of each treatment?
- Can my kidney cancer be cured?
- How will cancer treatment affect my daily life?
- Is there one treatment option you feel is best for me?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Are there brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask additional questions that may occur to you during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them so you'll have time to cover any points you want to focus on. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?