The Importance of regular Kidney Cancer Screenings

The Importance of regular Kidney Cancer Screenings

Julie Scott, DNP
Julie Scott, DNP

What is Kidney Cancer?

Kidney cancer develops when the cells inside the kidneys become abnormal and start to grow out of control. There are multiple types of kidney cancer that can grow, each starting from a different type of cell in the kidney. Some cancers have screening tests available to help find cancer early before it starts causing any symptoms. Unfortunately, kidney cancer does not currently have a screening test available and is usually diagnosed when being evaluated for some symptoms it is causing.

Risk factors for kidney cancer

The following factors can increase someone’s risk of developing kidney cancer.

● Smoking cigarettes

● Being obese

● Family history of kidney cancer

● Male sex

● Advanced chronic kidney disease

● Genetic conditions of von Hippel-Lindau, Cowden syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis

Symptoms of kidney cancer

Some of the signs and symptoms of kidney cancer can include:

● Blood in the urine

● Pain in one side or on one side of the back

● High blood pressure

● Unintentional weight loss

● Severe fatigue

● Low red blood cells

● Swelling to the legs or feet

Imaging tests for kidney cancer

Imaging tests may be done to evaluate the cause of symptoms experienced. These imaging tests can include the following:

● X-ray

● CT scan


● Ultrasound

If any suspicious areas in the kidney are found on these tests, a biopsy may be done. During a biopsy, tissue from the tumor is removed and tested for the presence of cancer cells. Sometimes, imaging is very suspicious for kidney cancer, and there is no evidence that it has spread anywhere else in the body. Surgery may be done for a biopsy to get a diagnosis with the tumor removed.

Kidney cancer is one of the most common cancers. However, it is also one of the most treatable if caught early. This makes kidney cancer screening very important for those who are at risk.

While there are no guarantees, increasing awareness and regular check-ups can help catch kidney cancer early, when treatment is most effective.

Julie Scott, DNP
Julie Scott, DNP
Julie is an oncology certified Oncology Nurse Practitioner with over a decade of medical oncology experience. In addition to her clinical work, she is an accomplished healthcare writer providing oncology content for various publications. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member for a Master's nursing program and a chair for Doctoral nursing students.

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