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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Kidney Cancer, Version 1.2017


Cancer staging

Staging tests


An x-ray is a test that uses small amounts of

radiation to make a picture of the inside of the body.

An x-ray of your chest is used to check if cancer has

spread to your lungs. X-rays are good at showing

bones and some soft tissues like the lungs. But,

pictures from a regular x-ray are not as detailed as

pictures from a CT scan of the chest.

An x-ray is painless and takes about 20 minutes.

Often, two pictures are taken—one from the back of

your chest and one from the side.

Bone scan

A bone scan is an imaging test that can show if

cancer has spread to your bones. This test is only

used if you have certain symptoms such as bone

pain or high levels of ALP in your blood. These

symptoms may signal that the cancer has spread to

your bones.

A bone scan uses a radiotracer to make pictures

of the inside of bones. A radiotracer is a substance

that releases small amounts of radiation. Before the

pictures are taken, the tracer will be injected into your

vein. It will take about 3 hours for the tracer to enter

your bones. For the scan, you will need to lie very

still on a table. A special camera will take pictures

of the tracer in your bones as it moves over your

body. It takes about 45 to 60 minutes to complete the

pictures. Areas of bone damage use more radiotracer

than healthy bone and thus show up as bright spots

on the pictures. Bone damage can be caused by

cancer or other health problems.

Helpful tips:


Keep a list of contact information of all

of your health care providers.


Ask a caregiver to help you plan your



Use a calendar or day planner to keep

track of your upcoming tests and

doctor's appointments.