While there are different types of cancer that start in the kidneys, renal cell carcinoma, which forms in the lining of the kidney tubules, is the most common type in adults.  

Renal cell carcinoma most often occurs in men between the ages of 50 and 70. It's also more common in people who:

  • Receive dialysis treatment
  • Have a family history of kidney cancer
  • Smoke
  • Have a genetic predisposition, such as Von Hippel-Lindau disease

Kidney Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms of kidney cancer include:

  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Back pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • New onset swelling of the veins around a testicle
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Vision problems

Kidney Cancer Diagnosis

  • A physical exam can reveal more obvious signs of kidney cancer, including swelling of the abdomen or in the veins of the scrotum. 
  • Radiographic testing with ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans often are used to diagnose kidney cancer.

Kidney Cancer Treatment at Valley

Treatment for kidney cancer varies depending on a variety of factors, including the tumor's size, whether the cancer has spread, your age and your overall health. 

Treatment options may include a combination of the following: 

  • Surgery, including minimally invasive robotic surgery
  • Biological therapy, medications that help the immune system kill cancer cells
  • Targeted therapy, medications that target cancer-causing gene changes in cells

Kidney Cancer Surgery

Depending on your disease state and tumor location, you may not have your entire kidney removed during surgery. 

Valley's Institute of Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery offers the following kidney cancer surgeries using minimally invasive methods: 

  • Nephrectomy: the surgical removal of a kidney. Valley offers options for different types of nephrectomy:
    • Partial nephrectomy: a surgical procedure in which only the diseased part of your kidney is removed; the healthy functioning kidney tissue is spared.
    • Complete nephrectomy: removes the entire kidney if the organ's health has been compromised.
  • Nephroureterectomy: a surgical procedure for a specific kidney cancer, transitional cell carcinoma. In this surgical treatment, the kidney and ureter are removed. The ureter is the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.

Benefits of Robotic Surgery for Kidney Cancer

Our surgeons can perform nephrectomy and nephroureterectomy through tiny incisions with extraordinary precision and control.

Robotic surgery offers the following benefits compared to open surgery:

  • Minimal scarring
  • Minimal pain
  • Low blood loss
  • Faster recovery
  • Shorter hospital stay