In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for kidney cancer may include the following:
- Blood and urine laboratory tests
- Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) - a series of X-rays of the kidney, ureters, and bladder with the injection of a contrast dye into the vein to detect tumors, abnormalities, kidney stones, or any obstructions, and to assess renal blood flow.
- Renal angiography (Also called arteriography.) - a series of X-rays with the injection of a contrast dye into a catheter, which is placed into the blood vessels of the kidney, to detect any signs of blockage or abnormalities affecting the blood supply to the kidneys.
- Other imaging tests (to show the difference between diseased and healthy tissues), including the following:
- Computed tomography scan (Also called a CT or CAT scan.) - a non-invasive type of X-ray procedure that takes cross-sectional images of the brain or other internal organs; to detect any abnormalities that may not show up on an ordinary X-ray.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a non-invasive procedure that uses radio waves and strong magnets to produce very detailed two-dimensional views of an internal organ or structure, especially the brain and spinal cord.
- Ultrasound (Also called sonography.) - a diagnostic imaging technique which uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function, and to assess blood flow through various vessels.
- Chest X-ray - a diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs on film.
- Bone scan - a nuclear imaging method to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joints; to detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone pain or inflammation.
Based on results of other tests and procedures, a biopsy may be needed. A biopsy is a procedure in which a sample of the tumor is removed and sent to the laboratory for examination by a pathologist.