Kidney tumor arising from the renal parenchyma (above). Typical radiographic finding of renal mass (below).
Upper Tract Urothelial Carcinoma
Tumor arising from the renal pelvis (above). Typical radiographic filling defect noted on contrast study (below).
With the increasing use of abdominal imaging such as Ultrasound or CT scans, the number of renal tumors detected has increased over the years. Tumors of the kidney can be benign or malignant. They can also arise from the kidney parenchyma (meat of kidney) or the collecting system (drainage system).
Most patients with kidney tumors do not demonstrate any symptoms. Others may have any of the following signs or symptoms:
- Flank pain
- Blood in urine
- Palpable abdominal mass
- Unintentional weight loss
- Constitutional symptoms (fevers, nausea, night time sweating)
If you have a renal mass or any combination of the above symptoms, you should be referred to a urologist for further evaluation. Your doctor may order further laboratory tests or imaging, and will review your results with you.
Treatment of renal tumors depends on the size, location and clinical stage of tumor, risk of progression and risk of surgery. Treatments may include active surveillance (for benign or small tumors limited to kidney) or surgery. Your surgeon will discuss with you in details all the options available to you. Your surgeon will discuss with you if a minimally invasive laparoscopic or robotic approach can safely be used. Your surgeon will also discuss with you if a partial nephrectomy– a procedure in which only the tumor is excised and the remaining healthy kidney is preserved– is a potential treatment option for you. In cases of tumors of the collecting system, surgery to remove the kidney and the entire ureter, called nephroureterectomy, may be required.
Depending on your treatment, you may need long term surveillance with labs and imaging to screen for progression or recurrence of tumor. Your doctor can discuss your long term screening in your office visit.