Kidney Cancer Diagnosis and Testing
Kidney cancer is diagnosed by a thorough physical examination, including blood tests, urinalysis, and a detailed medical history followed by some or all of the following tests:
Computed Tomography Scan (CT or CAT scan)
A computed tomography scan CT or CAT scan is one of the primary imaging tools used to make a diagnosis of kidney cancer, especially if a mass is felt upon physical examination or discovered on x-rays taken for other reasons. A CT scan allows your physician to visualize internal organs with great accuracy.
MRIs (magnetic resonance imagining) can also be used to diagnose kidney cancer, especially if a patient is not a candidate for a CAT scan.
A bone scan may be used to detect the spread of cancer to the bones.
An ultrasound exam utilizes high-energy sound waves to produce images of internal organs. This test may be ordered if there is blood in the urine or a mass is suspected upon physical examination and is considered a screening tool for kidney cancer.
Physicians can usually determine if a tumor is malignant from the imaging studies described above without the need for a biopsy. A biopsy will be done if such tests are inconclusive or if treatment other than surgery is being considered.
Staging and Grading
Staging of cancer is the process of classifying how far a cancer has spread, while grading reflects the characteristics of the cancer’s cells. Staging and grading are important predictors of the course of the disease and treatment success. Learn more about the different kidney cancer stages
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