July 22, 2024

Kidney cancer is diagnosed by the following tests and procedures:

tests on the blood and urine. Your doctor may be able to determine the cause of your symptoms and indications with the use of blood and urine tests.

imaging examinations. Your doctor can see a kidney tumor or other problem using imaging testing. An MRI, CT, X-ray, or ultrasound are examples of imaging tests.

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removing a kidney tissue sample (biopsy). In certain cases, your physician could advise a biopsy—a technique in which a tiny sample of cells is taken from a suspicious location of your kidney—if there are any concerns. In a lab, the sample is examined for indications of malignancy. Not every time is this process required.

Staging kidney cancer

The following step is to ascertain the cancer’s extent, or stage, if your doctor finds a kidney lesion that may be kidney cancer. Additional CT scans or other imaging tests your doctor deems necessary may be part of the staging tests for kidney cancer.

Roman numerals I through IV are used to represent the stages of kidney cancer; the lowest stage denotes kidney-confined malignancy. Stage IV indicates that the cancer has progressed and may have reached the lymph nodes or other parts of the body.


Surgery to remove the malignancy is typically the first step in the treatment of kidney cancer. This may be all that is required for therapy when a malignancy is limited to the kidney. It could be advised to undergo further treatments if the cancer has progressed outside of the kidney.

You can talk about your choices for treating kidney cancer with your treatment team. Several criteria, such as your overall health, the type of kidney cancer you have, whether the disease has progressed, and your treatment choices, may determine the best course of action for you.


In most cases, surgery is the first line of treatment for kidney cancer. When feasible, the aim of surgery is to remove the malignancy while maintaining normal kidney function. The following procedures are used to treat kidney cancer:

ectomy (removal of the damaged kidney). The entire kidney, a border of healthy tissue, and occasionally other surrounding tissues including the adrenal gland, lymph nodes, or other structures are removed during a total (radical) nephrectomy.

The surgeon can execute a nephrectomy by one side or abdominal incision (open nephrectomy) or via several tiny abdominal incisions (laparoscopic or robotic-assisted laparoscopic nephrectomy).

removing a kidney tumor (partial nephrectomy). Surgically removing only a tiny portion of the surrounding good tissue in addition to the malignancy, instead of the complete kidney, is known as “kidney-sparing” or “nephron-sparing” surgery. It can be performed laparoscopically, robotically, or as an open operation.

If you have a single kidney, you may be able to have kidney-sparing surgery, which is a popular therapy for minor kidney malignancies. When it comes to maintaining kidney function and lowering the chance of subsequent consequences like renal disease and the need for dialysis, kidney-sparing surgery is typically chosen over a full nephrectomy.

Your doctor’s recommendation for surgery will depend on a number of factors, including the stage of your cancer and your general health.

Non-surgical methods

Sometimes nonsurgical methods like heat and ice can eradicate small kidney malignancies. In some cases, such as those involving individuals with other health issues that make surgery problematic, these methods could be a choice.

Possible choices may be:

Cryoablation is a cancer cell freezing treatment. Using ultrasound or other imaging guidance, a unique hollow needle is introduced through your skin and into the kidney tumor during cryoablation. The cancer cells are frozen using cold gas in the needle.

heat-based cancer cell treatment (radiofrequency ablation). A unique probe is put through your skin and into the kidney tumor during radiofrequency ablation. The placement of the probe is guided by ultrasonography or other imaging technology. The cancer cells heat up or burn when an electrical current is sent through the needle and into them.

Medications for kidney cancer that is advanced and recurring

It might not be possible to cure kidney cancer that recurs after therapy or that spreads to other areas of the body. Treatments might keep you comfortable and help manage the cancer. Treatment options in these circumstances might be:

surgery to remove the maximum amount of kidney cancer. Surgeons may try to remove as much of the cancer as they can during an operation if it cannot be removed entirely. Cancer that has spread to another part of the body can also be removed surgically.

focused treatment. Treatments with targeted drugs concentrate on certain defects seen in cancer cells. Cancer cells can be killed by specific medication therapies that prevent these abnormalities. In order to determine which targeted medications may have the best chance of working, your doctor could advise evaluating your cancer cells.

immunotherapy. Immunotherapy fights cancer by boosting your immune system. The immune system that fights illness may not be able to combat your cancer because the cancer cells make proteins that assist them evade the immune system cells. Immunotherapy functions by obstructing that process.

radiation treatment. High-powered energy beams from sources like protons and X-rays are used in radiation treatment to destroy cancer cells. When kidney cancer has progressed to other parts of the body, such as the brain or bones, radiation treatment may be used to manage or lessen symptoms.

clinical examinations. Research studies called clinical trials allow you to evaluate the newest advancements in kidney cancer treatment. A few clinical trials evaluate possible therapies’ efficacy and safety. Additional clinical studies look for novel approaches to illness detection or prevention. Consult your physician about the advantages and disadvantages of participating in a clinical study if you’re considering it.