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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Kidney Cancer, Version 1.2017



Imaging tests | Blood tests


An ultrasound is a test that uses sound waves to take

pictures of the inside of the body.

See Figure 8


This test can show if there is a mass in your kidneys.

It can also show if the mass is solid or fluid-filled.

Kidney cancer tumors are more likely to be solid.

For this test, you will need to lie down on an exam

table. A gel will be spread on the area of skin

near your kidneys. Next, your doctor will place the

ultrasound probe on your skin and guide it back and

forth in the gel. The probe sends out sound waves

that bounce off organs and tissues to make echoes.

The probe also picks up the echoes. A computer

uses the echoes to make a picture that is shown on a



Ureteroscopy uses a thin, tube-shaped tool called a

scope that is inserted into your body to take pictures.

Ureteroscopy is not used for kidney cancer. But, this

imaging test may be used if your doctor suspects

TCC or bladder cancer.

One end of the scope has a small light and camera

lens to see inside your body. It allows your doctor

to view your ureters and the middle part of your

kidneys, called the renal pelvis. For this test, the

scope will be inserted through your urethra. It will

then be passed through your bladder, a ureter, and

then into the renal pelvis of a kidney.

Blood tests

Doctors test blood to look for signs of disease and

assess your general health. These tests are not used

to confirm (diagnose) kidney cancer. But, abnormal

results may signal there’s a problem with your

kidneys or other organs. Abnormal results may be

caused by kidney cancer or other health conditions.

For a blood test, your doctor will insert a needle into

a vein to remove a sample of blood. Blood is often

removed from a vein in the arm. The needle may

bruise your skin and you may feel dizzy afterward.

The blood sample will then be sent to a lab for

testing. The blood tests used for kidney cancer are

described below.








ount) measures the number

of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Your doctor will want to know if you have enough red

blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body,

white blood cells to fight infections, and platelets to

control bleeding.

CBC test results are often abnormal in people with

kidney cancer. Having a low number of red blood

cells, called anemia, is common in people with

kidney cancer. Your blood counts may be abnormal—

too low or too high—because of kidney cancer or

another health problem.

Blood chemistry tests

Blood chemistry tests measure the levels of the

chemicals in your blood. Chemicals in your blood

come from your liver, bones, and other organs and

tissues. Your kidneys filter excess chemicals and

waste out of your blood.

Doctors use blood chemistry tests to assess if certain

organs and body systems are working well. Abnormal

levels of certain chemicals can be a sign that your

kidneys aren’t working well. Abnormal levels—too

high or too low—may also be a sign that cancer has

spread to other parts of your body.