About Your Kidneys
Your kidneys are a pair of organs each about the size of a fist. As part of the urinary tract, their main job is to make urine by removing waste and extra water from your blood before sending this liquid into your bladder.
Your kidneys also help control blood pressure by making a hormone called renin. They also help make sure the body has enough red blood cells by making a hormone called erythropoietin.
What are Kidney Cancer Symptoms?
How is Kidney Cancer Diagnosed?
Who Is At Risk For Kidney Cancer And Can It Be Prevented?
What Types of Treatments Are Available For Patients?
Are There Any New Advances On the Horizon For Kidney Cancer?
What Is The Difference Between A Kidney Tumor And Kidney Cysts?
- Urine tests: A lab checks your urine for blood, cancer cells and other signs of disease.
- Blood tests: A lab checks your blood for several substances, including creatinine. A high level of creatinine may mean the kidneys aren’t doing their job.
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound creates a picture of your kidney and nearby tissue and can show a kidney tumor.
- CT scan: An X-ray machine linked to a computer can show cancer in the kidneys, lymph nodes or other tissue in the abdomen.
- MRI: A machine with a magnet linked to a computer is used to make detailed pictures that can show cancer in your kidneys, lymph nodes or other tissue in the abdomen.
- IVP: An injection of dye collects in your kidneys and an X-ray is taken to detect a tumor or other problems.
- Biopsy: Your doctor inserts a thin needle to remove a sample of tissue from the kidney. The tissue is examined for cancer cells.
Your doctor may order one or more tests:
- Blood tests: Some people with kidney cancer have high levels of calcium or LDH in their blood.
- Chest X-ray: A chest X-ray can show if kidney cancer has spread to your lungs.
- CT scan: This scan can show cancer in your lymph nodes, lungs or elsewhere.
- MRI: An MRI can show cancer in your blood vessels, lymph nodes or other tissue in the abdomen.
These are the stages of kidney cancer:
- Stage 1: The tumor is no bigger than a tennis ball and cancer cells are found only in the kidney.
- Stage 2: The tumor is bigger than a tennis ball, but cancer cells are found only in the kidney.
- Stage 3: The tumor can be any size. It has spread to at least one nearby lymph node, or to nearby blood vessels.
- Stage 4: The tumor has grown through the outer layer of the kidney, or cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes, the lungs, liver, bones or other tissue.