Kidney Cancer Treatments

Kidney Cancer Treatments

City of Hope is a pioneer in robotic-assisted surgery, which can reduce postoperative pain and improve recovery time. For select renal cases, same day discharge is possible.

Your kidney cancer is every bit as unique as you are, and that is why treatment at City of Hope is personalized and focused on you and your loved ones.

This means our physicians will personally consult with you about your disease, your treatment options and desired outcomes. Afterward, our multidisciplinary team of specialists will work collaboratively with you to discuss, design and deliver an individual treatment plan to best meet your needs and goals.

The innovative treatments we use to treat kidney cancer include surgery, drug therapy and radiation therapy.

Surgery for Kidney Cancer

For most patients with kidney cancer, surgery is a cornerstone of treatment. For those with early-stage kidney cancer, surgery can sometimes be curative. City of Hope is a nationwide leader in kidney cancer surgery, specializing in minimally invasive robotic-assisted procedures that offer many advantages. These include more precise surgical techniques, faster recovery time and less pain after surgery.

What type of surgery your doctors recommend depends on several factors, including the size, stage and location of the tumor. Surgical options include:

  • Radical nephrectomy, which involves the removal of the kidney, along with the adrenal gland and fatty tissue surrounding it.
  • Partial nephrectomy, or a nephron sparing surgery, which removes part of the kidney.
  • Removal of metastases, which removes kidney cancer tumors that have spread – or metastasized – to other parts of the body.

If your kidney cancer has metastasized, our urologic surgeons will coordinate with other teams so that both primary and secondary tumors can be removed in one operation.

A Leader in Robotic-Assisted Surgery for Kidney Cancer

Most kidney surgeries at City of Hope can be performed using robotic-assisted procedures. Our urologic cancer surgeons have performed more than 11,000 robotic-assisted procedures – more than any other hospital in the western United States – including more than 1,500 robotic nephrectomies. Our team has also been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s top cancer hospitals and a high-performing hospital in urology for more than 10 years.

The advantages of minimally invasive robotic surgery include:

  • Smaller incisions, meaning less pain and blood loss during surgery
  • Faster recovery time and shorter hospital stays
  • Better surgical outcomes 
  • The ability to start postsurgical therapies sooner

In addition to minimally invasive procedures, City of Hope’s surgeons are experts in complex open surgical techniques. Your cancer care team will work with you to determine the best approach for your care, which may include surgery as well as other treatments, such as radiation therapy, drug therapy or participation in a clinical trial. Other options if tumors cannot be removed surgically include the use of cold therapy (cryoablation), high energy currents (radiofrequency ablation) or techniques that block the blood supply to the tumor (arterial embolization).

After surgery, a multidisciplinary team will help with your recovery. Specialists who will work collaboratively with you may include nurses, rehabilitation therapists, occupational therapists, clinical social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, dieticians and other supportive care experts.

Radiation Therapy for Kidney Cancer

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 not typically 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 that have spread to other sites in the body or to alleviate symptoms associated with advanced cancer.