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Majority of kidney cancers diagnosed at earliest stage
Date:5/18/2008

th certainty, the low stage presentation of tumors appears to be due to the more widespread use of medical imaging such as ultrasound, CT scans, and MRIs being conducted to evaluate other medical conditions. The cancerous growths, which often have not yet caused symptoms, are found unexpectedly as a result of these imaging tests. These incidentally detected masses are more likely to be benign, smaller, and when confirmed to be kidney cancer to have better rates of survival.

What we are seeing is that gynecologic or abdominal imaging to evaluate pain or other complaints is picking up other forms of disease such as kidney cancer, said Kane. The increased and widespread use of medical imaging in the United States is helping to diagnose cancer in its non-symptomatic stages when it is easier to treat successfully.

Kidney cancer is considered a silent killer rarely causing signs or symptoms in its early stages. In the later stages, kidney cancer symptoms may include blood in the urine, back pain, weight loss, fatigue and intermittent fever. Deaths due to kidney cancer account for about 3% of all cancer deaths in the U.S with approximately 12,890 deaths in 2007.

The message to patients is not to go out and request an ultrasound or CT scan, said Kane. Keep in mind that this is a rare form of cancer. However, if abdominal imaging is done and a mass or masses in the kidney are recognized, evaluation by an urologist is recommended.

The progression of a cancer is divided into four stages to describe how much a cancer has spread. The stage takes into account the size of a tumor, how deep it has penetrated, and whether it has invaded adjacent or distant organs or lymph nodes. Staging of cancer is important because the stage at diagnosis is the most powerful predictor of survival, and treatments are often changed based on the stage.


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Contact: Jackie Carr
jcarr@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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