How is kidney cancer diagnosed?
Besides the signs and symptoms, a physical examination by the doctor may reveal a mass or swelling in the abdomen.
Some diagnostic tests to confirm the presence of cancer and the stage may be advised by the doctor. These include
- Abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan
- Abdominal ultrasonography
- Ultrasound of the abdomen and kidney
- Renal arteriography
- Urine analysis
- Liver function tests
- Intravenous pyelogram
- Blood chemistry
- Complete blood count (CBC)
The following tests may be done to check the spread (metastasis) of cancer to other parts of the body.
- Chest X-ray
- Chest CT scan
- Abdominal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Bone scan
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
Stages of kidney cancer
Cancer staging ranges from Stage 1 to Stage 4 and is a very important system to determine the spread.
Stage 1: Tumors are confined to the kidney and are usually less than 7 cm in diameter.
Stage 2: Tumors involve the fat or adrenal tissues of the kidney and are greater than 7 cm in diameter.
Stage 3: Tumors have spread to the regional kidney tissues or lymph nodes and kidney veins or vena cava.
Stage 4: Tumors have spread outside the kidney to distant sites in the body or other organs (liver, colon, pancreas, stomach, etc.)