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Tests You May Need After You Know You Have Kidney Cancer

Once your doctor knows you have kidney cancer, he or she may request other tests to learn more about your specific type of cancer and to see whether or not it has spread. Along with previous exams and a biopsy, these tests can help your doctor understand know the stage and prognosis of your disease and determine the most effective types of treatment for you. If you've already had a CT scan or MRI to confirm your diagnosis, these will likely not be repeated.

Don't worry if these tests take a little while to complete. In most cases, it's OK to take some time to get these results before starting treatment. And you'll have some time to discuss all of this with your family and health care team.

Additional testing can help to:

  • Tell exactly where the cancer is and whether it is in more than one place

  • Tell how big the cancer is

  • Tell what type of treatment will likely work best

  • Tell what your chance of recovery is

Certain tests can help spot whether the kidney cancer has spread to other parts of your body. These include imaging tests. They use scanning machines to see inside your body. Aside from CT and MRI scans, here are examples of other tests you may have:

  • Chest X-ray

  • Abdominal ultrasound

  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan

  • Bone scan

  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)

  • Renal angiogram

If additional tests are recommended, your medical team will review the procedures with you in detail.  

If you or a family member have been diagnosed with kidney cancer, you may want to consider getting a second opinion before beginning treatment. Certain health insurance companies require a second opinion for such diagnoses. According to the American Cancer Society, it is very rare that the time it will take to get a second opinion will have a negative impact on your treatment. The peace of mind a second opinion provides may be well worth the effort. 

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