Abdominal ultrasound imaging – don’t overlook the kidneys

Author(s): Dr K Choi, Dr J Taylor

Hospital: Royal Blackburn Hospital

Reference: RAD Magazine, 40, 468, 33-34


Primary renal neoplasm is the eighth most common cancer in the UK, with renal cell carcinomas (RCCs) responsible for approximately 86% of all cases. The majority of RCCs are clinically occult and are discovered incidentally on radiographic studies. The classic triad presentation of flank pain, haematuria and palpable mass are only reported in 10% of cases but often are indicative of advanced disease. Other less common manifestations include varicocele, hypertension and paraneoplastic symptoms such as anaemia, fever and hypercalcaemia.

Incidental renal cell carcinoma was first described in the early 1980s with reported figures ranging between 13-59%. With advances and accessibility in radiological imaging technology in the past decade, clinicians are shifting towards an ‘imaging guided management approach’ in an attempt to improve diagnostic precision and patients’ quality of care. Under this revolution, one might be interested to determine the impact on the number of incidental RCC reported.

The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of incidental RCC in East Lancashire Hospital Trust (ELHT), a large district general hospital providing radiological services to a population of 520,000; and also to determine what clinical presentation(s) and radiological investigation(s) led to the diagnosis of incidental RCC.

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