Because there are several types of kidney tumours, the doctor does a series of tests to better understand your specific situation. These tests include a medical history, laboratory tests and scans. Sometimes a family history is also taken. A CT scan or MRI scan will reveal the size of the tumour and if it has invaded local veins, lymph nodes, or surrounding organs. This is important to determine further treatment. The doctor may also perform a physical examination and take blood and urine for testing.
With the results of your scan, the urologist can define the stage of the disease. By analysing tumour tissue, received either during surgery or biopsy, the pathologist determines the subtype of the tumour and whether or not it is an aggressive form. Together, the stage, subtype, and aggressiveness of the tumour form the classification.
Classification of the kidney tumour is used to estimate your individual prognosis. Based on this individual prognosis your doctor will discuss the best treatment pathway for you.
In some cases you may need additional tests to check your kidney function. This is important if you only have one kidney or if you are at risk of kidney failure because you have diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic infections, or a kidney disease.
Imaging is important for the diagnosis and classification of kidney tumours. Most common imaging techniques are ultrasound, CT scans, and MRI. In some cases a biopsy is done to get more insight into the specific characteristics of the tumour.