A biopsy (removal and examination of tissue) from a small mass or growth in the kidney is sometimes used to diagnose the mass and determine if it is cancer (malignant) and the best way to treat it. In this study, surgeons from two large hospitals in the USA were asked in which situations they used a biopsy for kidney masses. This study helped to determine when to use a biopsy and for which people.

Most surgeons used a biopsy in less than 25% of cases, and usually when there was concern that the cancer had spread to other parts of the body (metastasised). They also used biopsies in patients with masses in both kidneys (bilateral tumours), or when patient age, other diseases, or tumour size makes the decision between active surveillance or surgery difficult.

Results from this survey may help to guide future research and help in the identification of patients that are most likely to benefit from kidney biopsy. Biopsy of the kidney may help to reduce unnecessary treatments.

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