Detection and diagnosis of kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer may include:
- Physical exam and medical history.
- Imaging tests, including ultrasound, a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
- Blood chemistry studies to screen for abnormal levels of substances the body’s organs and tissues produce.
- Urinalysis to screen the urine for any abnormalities.
- Liver function test to measure for any abnormal levels of enzymes.
- Intravenous pyelogram (IVP), which is a special series of X-rays.
- Biopsy to remove a small tissue sample of the kidney for examination.
Treatment options for kidney cancer may include:
- Partial nephrectomy to remove the cancer in the kidney and some of the surrounding healthy tissue.
- Simple nephrectomy to remove the entire kidney.
- Radical nephrectomy to remove the kidney, nearby lymph nodes, adrenal gland and surrounding tissues.
- Arterial embolization, which may be performed as part of palliative care when surgery is not possible.
- Kidney transplant, which may be required when a patient no longer has a functioning kidney.
Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) may be part of a treatment option for kidney cancer and provided in combination with surgery or as palliative care for advanced kidney cancers or for patients who are not candidates for surgery.
Anti-angiogenic agents, such as monoclonal antibodies and kinase inhibitors that prevent blood vessels from forming in a tumor, may be used as part of a targeted therapy regimen for kidney cancer, while biologic therapy drugs such as interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferons have been shown to help the body’s immune system fight cancer.
Chemotherapy is typically only used for kidney cancers after targeted or biologic therapies have been tried and proven to be ineffective for a patient.