Kidney cancer begins in the kidneys — two large, bean-shaped organs—one located to the left, and the other to the right of the backbone. Kidney cancer includes: clear cell renal cell carcinoma, papillary renal cell carcinoma, sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma, transitional cell carcinoma of the renal pelvis and Wilms tumor, which is more common in children. Men between the ages of 50 and 70 have a slightly higher risk of developing kidney cancer. Three to five percent of all adult cancers in the United States arise from the kidney.
It is important that you choose an experienced medical team to treat your kidney cancer. Leading the way, with advanced training and years of practice are our urologic surgeons, who perform all of the surgery for urologic cancers at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. In their role as surgical oncologists, they collaborate with a group of internationally renowned experts, creating an individualized care plan — just for you.
Urologic services are available at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Main Campus in Boston, at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain, at Brigham and Women's/Mass General Health Care Center at Foxborough, and at our newest locations Dana Farber/Brigham and Womens Cancer Center in Milford and Brigham and Women's Health Care Center at Westwood. Discuss the most convenient location for you when you make an appointment with a patient coordinator.
Factors that contribute to an increased risk for developing kidney cancer include:
While kidney cancer is often asymptomatic, the following are the most common symptoms:
The survival rate for patients is good if kidney cancer is caught early. Your urologic surgeon will meet with you to discuss concerns and to conduct a thorough evaluation. Diagnostic tests and procedures may include:
Your urologist will order additional tests to determine the size of the cancer and whether cancer cells have spread within the body. This is called staging. Tests may include additional CT-scans or other imaging tests. Kidney cancer stages include:
Treatment for kidney cancer depends on many factors including the stage of the cancer and where it is located. Your urologist will discuss the best treatment for your particular situation. Often a combination of therapies will be recommended. These include:
Tumor ablation destroys the tumor without surgically removing it. Ablative technologies include cryotherapy and radiofrequency ablation.
You will receive a thorough diagnostic evaluation and receive clinically-proven treatment by a board-certified urologist who specializes in kidney cancer. Your experience post-treatment will vary depending upon the stage of your cancer. Early detection—and the involvement of an experienced urologist—are important to the successful outcome for kidney cancer treatment. After treatment, routine life-long surveillance is necessary.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital practices a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, collaborating with colleagues in other medical specialties. Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center gives you access to the world’s best cancer experts. The Division of Urology’s surgical oncologists work hand-in-hand with medical oncologists and radiation oncologists to create an individualized care plan. Specialists also include radiologists, pathologists, nurse specialists, social workers, palliative care specialists and dietitians.
To learn more about our cancer partnership, visit Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.
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