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Diagnosis / Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer or renal cancer is a disease in which kidney cells become malignant (cancerous) and grow out of control, forming a tumor. Almost all kidney cancers first appear in the lining of tiny tubes (tubules) in the kidney. This type of kidney cancer is called renal cell carcinoma. The good news is that most of kidney cancers are found before they spread (metastasize) to distant organs.

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They lie in your lower abdomen on each side of your spine. The main job of the kidneys is to clean your blood, removing waste products and making urine.

What Causes Kidney Cancer?

The causes of kidney cancer are unknown; however certain factors appear to increase a person’s risk of getting kidney cancer. The below are known risk factors for kidney cancer:

  • Age – people greater than 40 years of age are more likely to develop kidney cancer
  • Smoking – people who smoke are 2x more likely to develop kidney cancer
  • Being male – men are 2x more likely to develop kidney cancer
  • Being obese – excess weight may cause changes to hormones, increasing your risk
  • Advanced kidney disease or being on long-term dialysis
  • Family history – especially high in siblings
  • High blood pressure
  • Lymphoma

Kidney Cancer Symptoms

Patients with kidney cancer may not always present with symptoms. In some cases, a growth in the kidney can cause the following:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain in the side, abdomen or back that does not go away
  • A lump in your abdomen
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss for no known reason
  • Anemia and fatigue
  • Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome
  • Tuberous sclerosis


In most cases a tumor is diagnosed during a routine screening for people with genetic risk factors, or is identified when a patient is seen by their doctor for an unrelated problem.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) lists the following as tests most often used to diagnose kidney cancer:

  • Physical exam and history
  • Ultrasound exam of your kidneys and organs
  • Blood chemistry studies
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) – series of x-rays of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder
  • CT (computed tomography) scan
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Biopsy

IVC’s Treatments for Kidney Cancer

Your treatment options will depend on your diagnosis, how aggressive the cancer cells are, and how far the tumor has spread. At IVC we offer several outpatient minimally invasive treatments for kidney cancer including renal tumor ablation using either cryoablation (freezing) or radiofrequency ablation (heat).

If you have been diagnosed with kidney cancer and want to better understand your options for treatment call IVC today at 503-612-0498 to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also read our brochure on Interventional Oncology.

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We are announcing that Interventional and Vascular Consultants will be closing as of March 10, 2023.

We would like to thank you for the trust you have given us over the years, participating in your healthcare needs has been a privilege.

To assist in a smooth transition to a new provider, you may access your records from your MyHealth account or request a copy of medical records by clicking the link below and completing the Release of Information form.

Medical Records Release Form

Please know that we have greatly valued our relationship with you and wish you the best.


Jason Bauer, MD RVT
Michael Pfister, MD RVT

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