About 70,000 new kidney tumors are diagnosed in the United States every year, most of them found incidentally on a CT scan or an MRI. Most are small, <4 cm in diameter, and there is no reliable way to predict with imaging alone whether a kidney mass is cancer or not. Unlike other tumors that are amenable to biopsy, renal mass biopsy has a fairly high nondiagnostic rate.
“The reason it matters is that up to 20% of these tumors can be noncancerous,” explained Russell S. Terry, Jr. M.D., an assistant professor and director of minimally invasive surgery education and new technologies in UF College of Medicine’s department of urology. “If we remove people’s kidneys or part of their kidneys for 100% of these small masses, then up to 20% of the surgeries might be unnecessary.”
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