For diagnostics of kidney cancer, specialists apply:
  • Ultrasound, X-ray
  • Blood test (biochemical, clinical), cytology, general urine test
  • CT
  • MRI
  • Biopsy.

Kidney cancer is classified according to the different signs: nature and the spread of the tumor, staging of the disease, TNM standard classification.

A tumor can be malignant or benign.

Benign tumors

The benign tumor appears in a human organism because of the pressure process, growth and differentiation of cells disorders. It usually does not manifest itself, has no danger to life and is diagnosed during the ultrasound.

Cyst in kidney

Cyst in the kidney is a benign round/oval tumor. There are no exact reasons for the development of such a tumor. However, doctors determine a range of factors which increase risk of its development:

  • old age
  • hypertonia
  • traumas of the kidney
  • tuberculosis, etc.

If a patient does not treat a cyst, complications may appear. In such cases, surgical removal of the cyst is necessary. Small cyst (up to 5 cm), which does not cause complications and pain, is not necessary to treat. Surgical intervention is prescribed in the cases when the cyst is big and causes disorders of organs functioning.


Kidney adenoma under a microscope reminds renal cell carcinoma of the dense structure. Sometimes it attains a large size and disturbs functions of kidneys and neighboring vessels. If the adenoma is over 3 cm in diameter, doctors recommend to remove it surgically.

adenoma on the kidney

On the left - kidney affected with adenoma. On the right - a healthy organ.

Angiomyolipoma, fibroma, lipoma

The least frequently benign tumors are angiomyolipoma, fibroma, lipoma.

Angiomyolipoma is caused by genetic mutation. When a tumor is small, and it does not manifest itself, treatment is not required. If angiomyolipoma is enlarged, a surgeon removes it.

Fibromas are more frequently diagnosed in women and localized in the fibrous kidney tissues. A standard method of treatment is the partial or total removal of a tumor.

Lipomas appear rarely. The derive within the kidney capsule and in the neighboring tissues. If there are risks of tumor malignization, doctors perform a nephrectomy.

Wilms tumor (nephroblastoma)

Kidney cancer happens in 3% of all oncological cases. Specialists note that for the last decade a level of these cases has increased, Kidney cancer is mostly diagnosed in men, the average age of patients is 62 years.

Specific malignant tumor of the kidney is Wilms tumor. It affects only children, in 90% of cases these children are at the age up to 5 years. Nephroblastoma is one of the most frequent types of oncology in children.

Renal cell carcinoma

Renal cell carcinoma is an aggressive type of cancer. At the stages, 3-4 metastases appear in other organs. In most of the cases, renal cell carcinoma is diagnosed when the metastatic process has already started.

The traditional method of treatment is nephrectomy (complete removal of the kidney). In case of metastasizing, doctors can also prescribe immuno-, targeted- and chemotherapy.

The traditional method of treatment is nephrectomy (complete removal of the kidney). In case of metastasizing, doctors can also prescribe immuno-, targeted- and chemotherapy.

Transitional cell carcinoma

It is the second type kidney cancer regarding the speed of metastatic spread. It has the similar signs as bladder cancer: it manifests itself with hematuria (blood in the urine).

The early diagnosis allows achieving good results in the treatment of transitional cell carcinoma (the recovery rate is up to 90%). Treatment of this kidney cancer supposes nephrectomy, therapies for the renal duct, and the bladder.

Sarcoma of the kidney

Sarcoma is rarely diagnosed - only in 1% of cases. It is a malignant neoplasm of the connective kidney tissue.

Symptoms of the disease:

  • hematuria
  • pain in the body side
  • a tumor in the belly area during palpation.
Sarcoma is similar to kidney cancer, so without a preliminary diagnostics, it is difficult to detect. Specialists conduct CT and MRI for detecting a tumor type.

The main treatment option for sarcoma is a complete nephrectomy. If necessary, doctors combine surgery with radio- and immunotherapy.

TNM standard classification

International anticancer society developed a special classification which has got TNM abbreviation. It detects a level of cancer spread and prognosis of its treatment.

T-index detects a level of cancer growth in the neighboring tissues, structures;

N signals about a number of affected lymph nodes;

M shows a presence of remote metastases.

According to TNM indexes, doctors determine kidney cancer staging.

Level of cancer spread (T):

  • TX is not estimated
  • T0 is without signs of carcinoma
  • T1 tumor is in the kidney; its size is less than 7 cm
  • T2 carcinoma in the kidney with diameter over 7 cm
  • T3 a tumor has spread to the veins, adrenal gland, but is localized within the kidney fascia
  • T3a develops in the adrenal gland/neighboring tissues but not beyond the fascia
  • T3b cancer affected kidney vein or vena cava
  • T4 a tumor is beyond the kidney area.

Affected lymph nodes (N)

  • NX is not estimated
  • N0 metastases are absent
  • N1 metastases is in 1 node
  • N2 metastasizing of two or more lymph nodes

Remote metastasizing (M):

  • MX can be estimated
  • M0 there are no metastases
  • M1 metastasizing is in remote organ/organs.