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Your doctor will diagnose kidney cancer by reviewing your medical history and performing a physical exam, along with blood and urine tests.
● CT scans use x-rays to get a complete picture of the kidneys and abdomen (belly). CT scans often show whether a tumor looks cancerous or has spread beyond the kidney.
● MRIs to obtain a complete image of the kidneys and abdomen, but without radiation.
● Ultrasound uses sound waves to provide a complete image of the kidneys and abdomen without radiation. It can be useful to help decide if a kidney mass is a fluid-filled cyst or a solid tumor.
● A biopsy may be used in special cases, but is not usually recommended. A biopsy requires that a very small piece of the kidney be removed with a needle and then checked for cancer cells.
Once kidney cancer is found, your doctor will do tests to find out if the cancer has spread within the kidney or to other parts of the body. This process is called staging. It is important to know the stage before making a treatment plan. The higher the stage, the more dangerous and malignant the cancer.