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How Are Renal Tumors Diagnosed?

If a child has a mass or lump in his/her belly, a doctor will do an exam and order tests:

  • Ultrasound: to show if the mass started growing in the kidney or somewhere else, and if it is solid.
  • CT or MRI: to see the size of the mass, and if it has spread.

For Wilms' tumor it is important to find out:

  • If it has grown into the vascular system
  • If it is in both kidneys
    • About 5 of every 100 patients have Wilms' tumor on both sides. If this is found early, the treatment plan will be adjusted
  • If the kidney without the tumor is working well

Where Renal Cancer Spread?

  • Lungs: This is the most common site for renal cancer cells outside the kidney. A chest X-ray will show most tumors. Smaller tumors can only be seen with a CT scan.
  • Bones: Rare tumor types, like clear cell sarcoma and rhabdoid tumor of the kidney, can spread to the bones. This is also true for RCC. Bone scans are done in some patients.
  • Brain: Rhabdoid tumor of the kidney can spread to the brain. So MRI of the brain is done in some patients.