Diagnosing Renal Pelvis & Ureter Cancer

Support Throughout the Diagnostic Process

Our physicians, nurses and support staff are here to advise you, listen to you and calm your fears. Your physicians will explain your diagnosis and compassionately offer suggestions for treatment and care. Their job is to help you.

Also available for counsel, support and guidance are nurse coordinators, oncology social workers and a pastoral team. They’ll help you navigate through the system and provide additional assistance, including:

  • Social support
  • Spiritual guidance
  • Emotional support
  • Practical advice
  • Tips on coping

Call on them. They’re here for you.

Because most kidney cancers are discovered incidentally, they’re usually early-stage cancers and the chances of cure are high.

Kristofer R. Wagner, MD, Urology; Director – Robotic Surgery

Renal pelvis and ureter cancer usually has no symptoms. Often, cysts on your renal pelvis or ureters are discovered by imaging tests performed for other reasons. You may have a CT scan before a scheduled surgery and find out you have a mass on your kidney.

The Scott & White Kidney Cancer Team is expert at detecting, diagnosing and identifying renal cysts. Our premier diagnosticians use first-rate, top-of-the-line equipment and procedures to locate your tumors when cure is most likely.

In addition to our superior diagnostic services, our unrivalled pathologists are renowned for their skill in identifying and classifying renal cysts, providing critical information for your care team that will assist them in making treatment decisions.

Renal Pelvis & Ureter Cancer Diagnostic Services

At Scott & White Healthcare, we use the most advanced diagnostic equipment available to identify and evaluate your renal cysts.

If your physician finds a renal cyst, he or she may order one or more of the following tests to evaluate your cyst further.

Physical Exams and Laboratory Tests

  • Physical examination and history. Your physician will begin with a thorough physical exam and medical history.
  • Urine cytology
  • Urinalysis

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Biopsy

A biopsy is the best way to confirm the presence of renal pelvis and ureter cancer. Your physician may order a biopsy if the results of other diagnostic tests suggest you may have cancer. Tissue samples are sent to the laboratory for evaluation by a pathologist.

  • Uteroscopy. In this procedure, your urologist will insert a ureteroscope, a thin tube with a lighted lens on the end, through your urethra into your bladder, ureter and renal pelvis. Small samples of tissue will be removed and sent to the laboratory for evaluation.

If indicated, your urologist may perform a washing or brushing of your renal pelvis and ureter to look for cancer cells. A salt solution will be inserted through a tube into your ureter and renal pelvis; once removed, the solution will be examined through a microscope for the presence of abnormalities.

  • Cytoscopy. In this procedure, your urologist will insert a ureteroscope, thin tube with a lighted lens, through your urethra and move it into your bladder. From there, your physician can view the inside of your bladder and urethra.

If there are any abnormalities, your urologist will perform a biopsy (surgically remove a small piece of your bladder). The sample of tissue will be sent to the laboratory for evaluation, where it will be examined under a microscope for the presence of cancerous cells. The results will be sent to your physician.

If indicated, your urologist may perform a washing to look for cancer cells. A salt solution will be inserted through a tube into your bladder; once removed, the solution will be examined through a microscope for the presence of abnormalities.

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Imaging Tests

Your physician may order one or more of these imaging tests to evaluate your cyst further:

  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan

Other tests your physician may order to assess your kidneys and gain information regarding your renal pelvis and ureter cancer include:

  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
  • Angiography. Angiography may be used prior to surgery to remove your kidney.

If you have a positive diagnosis of renal pelvis and ureter cancer, your physician may order one or more of the following imaging tests to determine whether cancer has spread to other parts of your body:

  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Chest X-ray
  • Bone scan

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