When I met my doctor [at City of Hope], he immediately made me feel at ease. I didn’t feel like a victim; I felt like I was going to be victorious." Joelle Hood, kidney cancer survivor
If you have been recently diagnosed with kidney cancer, talk to the specialists at City of Hope. Our kidney cancer team is an integrated group of experts who will ease your concerns and focus on providing you the best possible care from the moment of diagnosis to active treatment to recovery and survivorship.
Request a Consultation
If you have been diagnosed with kidney cancer or are looking for a second opinion consultation about your treatment, you may request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-4673 (HOPE). Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.
As a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, our doctors also help develop and improve evidence-based kidney cancer treatment guidelines for patients throughout the country.
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Kidney cancer is a disease involving the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the kidneys, a pair of organs that removes waste products from the bloodstream and excretes them as urine.
About 90 percent of kidney cancers are renal cell carcinomas, which originate in the tubules that transport waste materials from the blood to the urine.
Rarer kidney cancers include transitional cell carcinoma (originating from the lining of the renal pelvis – where urine goes before it is transported to the ureter and urinary bladder), Wilms tumor (a subtype that primarily occurs in children) and renal sarcoma (from blood vessels and connective tissues within the kidney).
Factors that can elevate risk of kidney cancer include:
Most common kidney cancer symptoms are linked with urination changes, including:
Although these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, you should check with a doctor – preferably a urologist – so he or she can make a definitive diagnosis.
Sources: National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society
Once you notice symptoms, or as part of a routine examination, your doctor may use the following tests to look for kidney cancer:
If cancer is found, additional tests are performed to determine the type and stage of disease. These diagnostic tests include:
Based on the results of these tests, the kidney cancer is then staged according to its size, number of lymph nodes affected and whether it has spread to nearby or distant organs. Kidney cancer is also evaluated by “grades” based on how much it resembles normal kidney cells and how aggressively it grows.
There are currently no screening guidelines for kidney cancer, since no screenings have been shown to lower risk of dying from kidney cancer for people of average risk. However, your physician may recommend screening if you are at a high risk of developing kidney cancer, due to:
City of Hope has more active clinical trials for kidney cancer patients than any other center in the region." Sumanta Pal, M.D., Kidney Cancer Program co-director
Your kidney cancer is every bit as unique as you are, and that is why treatment at City of Hope is focused around you and your loved ones.
This means our physicians will personally consult with you about your disease, treatment options and desired outcomes. Afterward, our multidisciplinary team of specialists will work together to discuss, design and deliver an individual treatment plan to best meet those goals.
The innovative treatments we use to treat kidney cancer include surgery, drug therapy and radiation therapy.
Surgery is a common treatment option for most kidney cancer patients, and can be curative for patients with early-stage, localized cancers.
Depending on size, stage, grade and location of the tumor, surgeries performed include:
When surgical removal of tumors is not an option, our doctors may aim to destroy or starve the tumors using other localized techniques, such as:
Drug therapy may be given to patients to fight kidney cancer cells throughout the body by killing them or stopping their growth and spread. These drugs include:
Drugs may also be prescribed to treat conditions related to kidney cancer or its treatments, such as low blood cell counts, nausea or pain.
The drug or drug combination used depends on the type and stage of kidney cancer, previous treatments used, the patient’s health and overall treatment goals. This personalized medicine approach may be further enhanced by molecular or genetic testing of your cancer, which can help identify treatments that are more effective and with fewer side effects.
City of Hope has a wide portfolio of cancer-fighting drugs available in its on-site pharmacy, allowing our medical oncologists to plan and prescribe a drug regimen that can best fight kidney cancer while minimizing side effects.
In addition to standard drug treatments, patients may also be eligible for new, promising drugs through our clinical trials program.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other forms of radiation to kill cancer cells. It may be delivered externally using focused beams of energy, or internally by placing a radiation-emitting substance placed in or near the tumor site.
Kidney cancer is typically not treated with radiation therapy, due to the organ’s sensitivity to radiation and the cancer’s resistance to it. However, radiation may be used to treat secondary tumors at other sites or to alleviate symptoms associated with advanced cancer.
City of Hope’s renowned physicians and researchers utilize the latest in technology and innovation to treat kidney cancer, coupled with our enduring belief in providing unparalleled compassionate care.
At City of Hope, kidney cancer clinicians and researchers collaborate extensively to develop and evaluate new therapies for better survival and quality-of-life outcomes. Our patients have access to a wide variety of clinical trials including new chemotherapy and targeted therapies, hormone therapies with fewer side effects, novel surgical techniques, innovative radiation approaches and new prevention strategies.
These trials give current patients access to promising, leading-edge therapies and improve overall care for future patients worldwide. Visit our clinical trials page to learn more about current studies and their eligibility criteria.
Some of our current research projects include:
No two cancer patients are the same, even if they have the same kind of cancer." Diane Geske, kidney cancer caregiver
When you come to City of Hope, you automatically gain access to an unparalleled array of support services to help you and your loved ones take each step during and after your kidney cancer treatment.
We can help with all of the following concerns, and more:
For more information about the supportive care programs we offer, please contact the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center at 626-218-2273 (CARE).
Joelle was shocked when she learned she had kidney cancer. Her doctor referred her to City of Hope, and Joelle knew she would be in good hands. After minimally invasive robotic surgery, Joelle is now cancer free.