Kidney Cancer Diagnosis & Detection
Learn More About Diagnosing Kidney Cancer: Chat with Us | Email Us
At Cancer Treatment Centers of America, our doctors are dedicated to providing each patient with individualized, comprehensive cancer care. This begins the moment you walk
through our doors.
The first step in creating your treatment plan is to thoroughly evaluate your disease. During your first visit to a CTCA hospital, you'll undergo a comprehensive exam to evaluate your kidney cancer and determine if it has spread to any other part of your body. If you have been recently diagnosed, we will review your pathology to confirm the diagnosis and staging, and develop a personalized treatment plan. If you have a recurrence, we will perform comprehensive testing and identify the treatments that are better suited to your needs.
Imaging and Diagnostic Tests for Kidney Cancer
We use state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to detect and monitor kidney cancer:
- CT (Computerized Tomography) scan – A CT scan is an X-ray technique that produces a detailed, 3D image of the kidneys and other structures in the body. A CT scan reveals blood flow and anatomy of tissues in and around the kidneys. We use CT scans to diagnose and monitor tumor growth throughout treatment.
- PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography/Computerized Tomography) – A PET/CT scan combines the 3D images of a CT scan with a PET scan, which reveals abnormal metabolic activity in the tissues. By blending these two images into one during a single exam, our physicians can identify abnormal activity and know precisely where this activity is taking place. PET/CT scans may reveal cancerous cells before any tumors or structural changes in the kidney are present.
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) – An MRI uses radiofrequency waves to create a detailed cross-sectional image of the kidneys and surrounding tissues. An MRI has much greater soft tissue contrast than a CT scan, making it an especially useful for kidney cancer detection and diagnosis.
- Core Needle Biopsy or Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy – If an imaging test shows evidence of a possible malignant tumor, a core needle or fine needle biopsy may be performed to determine if the mass is cancerous. We perform both of these diagnostic tests under local anesthesia, by inserting a needle directly into the tissue. The extracted tissue or cells are then inspected under a microscope to diagnose and stage the tumor.
In some cases, urinalysis is used to look for blood in the urine. Because blood in the urine can be caused by an infection or other benign
conditions, before making a cancer diagnosis, we examine the urine cells under a special microscope that allows us to detect cancerous activity, called urine cytology.
Next Topic: Kidney Cancer Staging