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Kidney cancer diagnosis

Kidney cancer often does not cause any symptoms, especially in earlier stages.  Possible symptoms include blood in urine, back pain, abdominal mass, or weight changes.

If your healthcare provider believes you may have kidney cancer, you will need certain exams and tests to be sure.

You should expect to be asked questions about your health history, your symptoms, risk factors, and family history of disease. Understanding your background will help your provider make a diagnosis.

You may have one of the following tests:

  • Blood Test. Lab tests cannot show for sure if a person has kidney cancer, but they can sometimes give the first hint that there may be a kidney problem. If cancer has already been diagnosed, they are also done to get a sense of a person’s overall health and to help tell if the cancer might have spread to other areas.
  • Imaging Test. An X-ray image, ultrasound, or CT scan may reveal any abnormalities that your healthcare providers are searching for. Unlike most other cancers, doctors can often diagnose kidney cancer with fair certainty based on imaging tests without doing a biopsy (removing a sample of the tumor to be looked at under a microscope).
  • Getting your test results

    Following your test, your nurse navigator will inform you when you can expect the results of your imaging test or biopsy. Further management will be recommended at that time.