Kidney cancer can be a life-threatening condition if it is not diagnosed and treated early. When someone is suspected to have kidney cancer, doctors recommend they seek medical testing to confirm a diagnosis. Kidney cancer is often diagnosed using imaging tests that show visualizations of the kidneys as well as any abnormal growths of cancer cells within them. This is necessary before surgery and other treatments are pursued.
Not only do imaging tests help give a person a diagnosis of kidney cancer, they can also help in determining the stage or progression of the cancer. Imaging services let physicians see clearly where the cancerous tumor is located as well as its size. These factors can help determine how much the kidney cancer has progressed, which is what doctors use to assign a stage to the cancer.
Why is this necessary? Cancer is treated differently depending on its stage. Kidney cancer that is determined to be in stage 1 will be treated very differently than kidney cancer that is in stage 3 or 4. For this reason, getting a diagnosis for cancer is not enough – you must determine the stage, as well.
Types of Imaging Services that Detect Kidney Cancer
Computed tomography, commonly referred to as a CT scan, creates images of the body’s internal structures and can provide detailed information regarding the size and shape of a tumor in the kidney. It is useful for determining if the cancer has spread to nearby tissue that surrounds the kidney, including lymph nodes and other organs.
Patients can expect to receive a specialized contrast dye prior to the CT scan. This is delivered intravenously. The dye infiltrates internal tissue, so that images from the CT scan are more pronounced and clearer.
An MRI or magnetic resonance imaging produces detailed images of the kidneys using radio waves. Doctors are able to diagnose and stage the progression of kidney cancer using the images produced by an MRI. An MRI may be ordered if a patient is allergic to the contrast dye used in a CT scan. An MRI provides clearer pictures of blood vessels than a CT scan, which is particularly useful if the cancer has spread beyond the kidneys.
A tumor in the kidneys may be detected by ultrasound, which is the use of high-frequency sound waves that are cast on a computer screen for a doctor to view in real-time. The doctor or technician passes a transducer on the skin over the kidneys. The transducer sends sound waves that create images that allow the tumor to be assessed.
Kidney Cancer Diagnosis Through Imaging Services in Palm Beach County, Florida
The experts at Independent Imaging understand how important it is for you to get an accurate diagnosis as quickly as possible. Our radiologists seek to make patients comfortable and create an atmosphere that will set their minds at ease.
For more information on the imaging and diagnostic services we provide, make an appointment today by calling (561) 795-5558. You can also request an appointment online.