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Renal cell carcinoma

  • Alternative Names

    Renal cancer; Kidney cancer; Hypernephroma; Adenocarcinoma of renal cells; Cancer - kidney

    • Abdominal pain
    • Back pain
    • Blood in the urine
    • Enlargement of the veins around a testicle (varicocele)
    • Flank pain
    • Swelling or enlargement of the abdomen
    • Unintentional weight loss

    Other symptoms that can occur with this disease:

    • Constipation
    • Cold intolerance
    • Excessive hair growth in females
    • Pallor
    • Vision abnormalities

    Sometimes both kidneys are involved. The cancer spreads easily, most often to the lungs and other organs. In about one-third of patients, the cancer has already spread (metastasized) at the time of diagnosis.

    Signs and tests

    Examination of the abdomen may show a mass or organ enlargement, particularly of the kidney or liver. Men may have a varicocele in the scrotum (a varicocele that is only on the right side is especially suspicious).

    Tests include:

    • Abdominal CT scan
    • Blood chemistry
    • Complete blood count (CBC)
    • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
    • Liver function tests
    • Renal arteriography
    • Ultrasound of the abdomen and kidney
    • Urinalysis and urine cytology

    The following tests may be performed to see if the cancer has spread:

    • Abdominal CT scan
    • Abdominal MRI
    • Bone scan
    • Chest x-ray
    • PET scan