Kidney Cancer: Screening

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 09/2022

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about screening for kidney cancer. You will also learn the risks and benefits of screening. Use the menu to see other pages.

Screening is used to look for cancer before you have any symptoms or signs. Scientists have developed, and continue to develop, tests that can be used to screen a person for specific types of cancer. The overall goals of cancer screening are to:

  • Lower the number of people who die from the disease, or eliminate deaths from cancer altogether

  • Lower the number of people who develop the disease

  • Identify people who may need more frequent screening or a different type of screening because they have a higher risk of developing cancer due to genetic mutations, hereditary syndromes, or family history

Learn more about the basics of cancer screening.

How are people screened for kidney cancer?

Routine screening tests to detect early kidney cancer are not available. Doctors may recommend that people with a high risk of the disease have imaging tests (see Diagnosis) to look inside the body. For people with a family history of kidney cancer, computed tomography (CT) scans or renal ultrasounds are sometimes used to search for early-stage kidney cancer. However, CT scans have not been proven to be a useful screening tool for kidney cancer for most people.

The next section in this guide is Symptoms and Signs. It explains what changes or medical problems kidney cancer can cause. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.