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Kidney cancer screening refers to the process of testing people for the disease who are exhibiting no symptoms of the cancer. Unfortunately, a routine, effective kidney cancer screening test has yet to be developed. If you believe you are at high risk of developing kidney cancer, you should discuss your concerns with your doctor, who can suggest ways to reduce your risk and plan a schedule of checkups.

Kidney Cancer Screening: An Overview

"Kidney cancer screening" refers to testing people for kidney cancer who have no symptoms of the disease. At this point, a routine, effective kidney cancer screening test has not been developed.

Understanding Cancer Screening

Although there is not yet a routine, effective screening test for kidney cancer, it may be helpful to understand a few things concerning cancer screening in general. Scientists have studied patterns of cancer in the population to learn:
  • Which people are more likely to get certain types of cancer
  • What things around us may cause cancer
  • What things we do in our lives may cause cancer (see Cause of Kidney Cancer).
This information can help doctors recommend:
  • Who should be screened for certain types of cancer
  • What types of screening tests people should have
  • How often these screening tests should be done.
If your doctor suggests certain cancer screening tests as part of your healthcare plan, this does not mean that your doctor thinks that you have cancer. Screening tests are done when patients do not have any symptoms. However, decisions about cancer screening can be difficult. Therefore, patients should ask their doctor about the potential benefits and risks of screening tests and whether they have been proven to decrease the risk of dying from cancer. If your doctor suspects that you may have cancer, he or she will order diagnostic tests. Some tests that are used for diagnostic purposes are not suitable for screening people who do not have symptoms.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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