Kidney cancer often does not cause any symptoms, especially in earlier stages. Possible symptoms include blood in the urine, back pain, abdominal mass or weight changes.
If your health care 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.
- Computer tomography (CT) scan. CT scans are most useful for detecting the stage of the cancer being diagnosed. The scan’s results tell your doctor if the cancer has spread to your lungs, liver or other organs.
- Ultrasound. This test uses high-frequency sound waves to make images of body tissues on a computer screen. Ultrasounds are often used in addition to a mammogram, and do not use radiation.
- X-ray. An X-ray image at the site of the cancer may reveal abnormalities that your health care providers are searching for.
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.
Patients will be contacted after a biopsy by a Markey team member to review results. Further management will be recommended at that time.
When you are diagnosed with kidney cancer, it is common to feel a sense of urgency around starting treatment. However, in most cases, there is time to do the needed research to ensure that your diagnosis is correct. That may include getting a second opinion.
Our team of experts works together to diagnose, treat and prevent kidney cancer, with a focus on individualized patient care.
Markey is among the best cancer centers in the nation when it comes to advanced treatment options, survival rates and experienced providers, according to U.S. News & World Report. As the first and only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in Kentucky, Markey can serve many patients each year with rare and common cancers, including kidney cancer.
Our specialized team is happy to work with your doctors and communicate to ensure confidence in your diagnosis.
Should I get a second opinion?
A second opinion can help to ensure that you will be getting the latest and most effective therapy for treating kidney cancer. The following are common reasons for seeking a second opinion after your initial diagnosis:
- You are having difficulty understanding your diagnosis.
- A dedicated team specialized in your cancer type may not be available in your area.
- There may be uncertainty around the stage of kidney cancer.
- You may want to learn more about treatment options, including clinical trials and advanced technologies only available at an advanced center like Markey.
- Your health insurance requires a second opinion before continuing toward treatment.
Questions to ask when getting a second opinion
After receiving a cancer diagnosis, you may have a lot on your mind. Here a few questions to keep in mind for your doctor when seeking a second opinion:
- Is there a chance that my medical problem could have a different diagnosis?
- Are there additional tests I should take before moving forward with treatment?
- Do you recommend any treatments at this time?
- What do you expect to happen if I wait or don't have the treatment?
- What are the side effects of treatment?
- How long are treatment recovery periods?