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Kidney Cancer Causes & Diagnosis

Cause

The exact cause of kidney cancer is unknown, but certain factors can increase your risk of developing this type of cancer. Risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Misusing certain pain medicines, including over-the-counter pain medicines, for a long time
  • Being overweight
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having a family history of renal cell cancer
  • Having certain genetic conditions, such as von Hippel-Lindau disease or hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma

Detection & Diagnosis

Tests that examine the abdomen and kidneys are used to detect (find) and diagnose renal cell cancer. The following tests and procedures may be used:

  • Physical exam and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
  • Ultrasound exam: A procedure in which high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) are bounced off internal tissues or organs and make echoes. The echoes form a picture of body tissues called a sonogram.
  • Blood chemistry studies: A procedure in which a blood sample is checked to measure the amounts of certain substances released into the blood by organs and tissues in the body. An unusual (higher or lower than normal) amount of a substance can be a sign of disease.
  • Urinalysis: A test to check the color of urine and its contents, such as sugar, protein, red blood cells and white blood cells.
  • CT scan (CAT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, such as the abdomen and pelvis, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an X-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography or computerized axial tomography.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
  • Biopsy: The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer. To do a biopsy for renal cell cancer, a thin needle is inserted into the tumor and a sample of tissue is withdrawn.

This content is provided by the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov)

Syndicated Content Details:
Source URL: https://www.cancer.gov/publishedcontent/syndication/5426.htm
Source Agency: National Cancer Institute (NCI)

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