Kidney Cancer Diagnosis Ct Scan

A computed tomography (CT) scan is one of the tests done to diagnose kidney cancer. It is a painless, non-invasive way for doctors to view your internal organs.

During a CT, or CAT, scan doctors use a medical imaging device to take 3-D pictures of various organs and parts of your body. Basically, a CT scan is an enhanced form of an X-ray that takes pictures from many different angles around your body. After the pictures are taken, they are sent to a computer, which translates them into a 3-D video image.

A CT scan is an important tool for doctors in diagnosing a number of diseases, including kidney cancer. A CAT scan can often diagnose diseases that would not otherwise be noticed by the patient or doctor. It detects tumors and also lymph nodes that have been enlarged by cancer.

The CT Scan Process

During a CT scan, you will be asked to lie still on a table while an X-ray tube rotates around your body. A CT scan technician will position your body for the imaging that will take place. Sometimes you may need to take a contrast agent prior to your CT scan in order to produce a clear picture. This agent can be administered either orally or intravenously. If a contrast agent is necessary, you will need to arrive a few hours prior to your scheduled CT scan.

For the scan, you might be asked to wear a hospital gown. If not, you should wear loose, comfortable clothing. You will also need to remove any jewelry, glasses, dentures, etc.

A CT scan can last anywhere from 10 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on the type of scan that needs to be done. However, the average time for a CT scan is approximately 30 minutes.

The Pros and Cons of CT Scans

A CT scan is an important test that your doctor will do if he thinks you have kidney cancer. Often, it follows a urinalysis that has shown the presence of blood in your urine, which is one of the symptoms of kidney cancer. CT scans are considered to be extremely beneficial in diagnosing various types of diseases. This test is the best way to discover abnormalities in the kidneys.

One of the best things about a CT scan is that it is painless and non-invasive. Doctors can see what is going on inside your body without having to resort to surgery or other painful or invasive procedures.

The drawbacks to having a CT scan include having some type of reaction to the contrast agent or feeling nervous about entering the scanner. However, these discomforts are generally mild and are easily tolerated.

Some people worry about the level of radiation, because a CT scan is considered to be a moderate to high dose of radiation. Studies have shown, however, that most people do not have any short- or long-term effects from getting a CT scan.

Other Kidney Cancer Tests

A CT scan is not the only test that your doctor will do if he suspects that you might have kidney cancer. He will likely perform any of all of the following:

  • biposy
  • blood tests
  • MRI
  • physical exams
  • ultrasound examinations.


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Scripps Health (n.d.). CT (Computed Tomography). Retrieved July 11, 2007, from the Scripps Health Web site: