Kidney Cancer Treatment

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Finding where to get kidney cancer treatment may seem difficult. How do you know the best place to go? 

At UVA, we encourage you to ask questions. Get second opinions. We strive to offer care that supports you as a whole person. And we offer expertise that gives comfort and hope.

Kidney Cancer Treatment

At UVA, you have options. You'll find the latest technologies. And we have experience with combining treatments to maximize their effect. We'll create a plan customized to your case. This could include:

  • Surgery to remove kidney, part of a kidney, or tumor
  • Radiation 
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Medication

Nancy Whitley's Story

In 2011, Nancy’s daughter took her to the doctor after she had been complaining about flu symptoms all week. After a few tests and scans, they found a tumor around her kidney that had been growing for two years. View Nancy's story transcript.

Is it Kidney Cancer?

There are two main types of kidney cancer. Wilms' tumor occurs in children. Renal cell carcinoma effects adults. The cancer cells start either in the lining of your ureter or in connective tissue. 

Without seeing a doctor, you can't know if you have kidney cancer. But if you do have these symptoms, you should have a doctor check them out:  

  • Blood in the urine
  • Lower back pain or new pain elsewhere
  • Shortness of breath or cough
  • A lump in the abdomen
  • Unplanned, significant weight loss
  • Fever
  • Swelling of ankles, legs, and/or abdomen

Diagnosis

We may perform blood and urine tests. You may also need imaging exams like:

  • Bone scan
  • Chest X-rays
  • IV pyelogram
  • Renal angiography
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Renal ultrasound
  • Laparoscopy
  • Cystoscopy

Conditions That Put You at Risk

No one can predict if you'll get kidney cancer or not. But these factors increase your risk: 

  • Smoking
  • Family history of certain hereditary forms of kidney cancer
  • Age: 50 years or older
  • Sex: male
  • Certain occupational exposures such as asbestos and aniline
  • Tanning products
  • Exposure to some toxins, such as astrolachia, an herb common in some Chinese herbal preparations
  • Balkan nephritis
  • Chronic renal stones
  • Phenacetin abuse
  • Tuberous sclerosis
  • Dialysis treatment
  • Von Hippel Lindau syndrome

     

    Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.