Symptoms and diagnosis of kidney cancer

Man in hospital with a pain

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Symptoms of kidney cancer 

  • Blood in your urine - the blood may not be there all the time but might come and go  
  • A lump in the kidney area
  • Painful spasms in your kidney tubes or bladder
  • A dull pain in your side
  • High temperatures and night sweats
  • Tiredness
  • Weight loss

A lot of these can be caused by other common conditions. For example, a urine infection, kidney stones or an enlarged prostate gland.  

It’s still important to go to the GP and get any unusual changes checked out.

Can I be screened for kidney cancer?

Testing for kidney cancer when you have no symptoms is called screening. There is no national kidney cancer screening programme in Ireland at present. Talk to your GP if you’re worried about kidney cancer. 

Diagnosing kidney cancer

Your family doctor (GP) will talk to you about your symptoms and may do urine and blood tests. Your GP will refer you to hospital if they think you need more tests. Tests you might have include:

A urine sample check: Testing your urine to see if your symptoms are being caused by an infection. If you have cancer there may be cancer cells in your urine

Blood tests: To check your general health 

Cytoscopy: A small tube with a light passed into your bladder to look at the bladder lining. This may show the reason for any blood in your urine 

CT scan: A special type of X-ray to give a picture of the tissues inside your body

MRI scan: A scan that uses magnetic energy and radio waves to build up a picture of the tissues inside your body  

Ultrasound scan: A device like a microphone passed over your tummy to give a picture of your kidney, bladder and nearby organs. It can show any abnormal changes

Read more about these tests.

A urologist is a doctor who specialises in treating bladder and kidney problems.

For more information

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1800 200 700

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