Kidney Cancer Diagnosis Urinalysis

A urinalysis, also called a UA or a urine test, is an easy, painless test that is often performed to help diagnose kidney cancer. In fact, a urinalysis is often the first step in diagnosing many health issues. Since many diseases don’t have symptoms in early stages and since many components pass through the urine, a urinalysis often reveals diseases that have gone unnoticed by patients.

A urinalysis is especially important in diagnosing kidney cancer, because, most of the time, kidney cancer exhibits no symptoms until it has metastasized and spread to surrounding organs and tissue.

A urinalysis is not the only test that is done to diagnose kidney cancer. However, a urine test is one of the first steps doctors take in diagnosing a problem because the urinary system is such a good indicator of your body’s overall health.

Preparing for a Urine Test

You won’t need to do anything out of the ordinary to prepare for your urinalysis. You will simply need to go to your doctor’s office and produce a urine sample. The urine sample is simply collected in a cup and analyzed in a lab. Your doctor will give you the necessary collection cups and tell you how to do get a clean urine sample.

While most urinalysis tests require only one urine sample, others require you to collect your urine over a period of 24 hours. The procedure is painless and shouldn’t produce any discomfort.

Before your urine test, you will need to tell your doctor about any medications and/or supplements you are taking, as some of these can affect the urinalysis results or change the color of your urine.

Testing a Urine Sample

Once you have provided your urine for the test, your doctor will do a physical test on the urine, during which he will check its color and appearance. Normal urine can vary widely in color from almost colorless to dark yellow.

Next, he will examine your urine under a microscope and then perform a chemical test. During the chemical test, the doctor will dip a chemically treated stick into the urine. The chemicals will change colors if they come into contact with certain substances.

A urinalysis shows doctors a number of things, including:

  • blood in the urine
  • glucose in the urine
  • hormones that indicate pregnancy
  • ketones
  • pH of the urine
  • protein in the urine
  • red blood cell count
  • white blood cell count.

Most of the things listed above are not normally found in urine, so their presence might suggest a problem. If your doctor suspects a health issue, he may ask you to undergo further testing, such as a CT scan, which produces images of your body’s internal structures.

Resources

National Library of Medicine (2007). Urinalysis. Retrieved July 11, 2007, from the National Library of Medicine Web site: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003579.htm.

The Internet Pathology Laboratory (n.d.). Urinalysis. Retrieved July 11, 2007, from the Internet Pathology Laboratory Web site: http://library.med.utah.edu/WebPath/TUTORIAL/URINE/URINE.html.