Jefferson Health

Kidney Cancer

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There are several types of kidney cancer. The most common type in adults is renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Most RCCs are found incidentally, by imaging studies such as ultrasound, CAT scan or MRI, performed for unrelated medical problems. The most common type of kidney cancer in children is Wilms' tumor. As with many other types of cancer, early detection significantly improves your chances of survival.

If you or someone important to you has been diagnosed with kidney cancer, turn to the experienced team of the Jefferson Multidisciplinary Genitourinary Oncology Center. Our urologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and radiologists are internationally recognized experts in their fields. The Center's progressive approach enables you to benefit from these multiple areas of expertise in a single visit.

Depending upon your diagnosis and the size and location of the tumor, you may be a candidate for a minimally invasive surgical procedure called laparoscopic or robotic nephrectomy. Our urologic surgeons have been performing this minimally invasive procedure since the early 1990s. Minimally invasive surgery can decrease your hospital stay, reduce the risk of infection, decrease pain and facilitate a faster recovery.

Treating Small Renal Masses

Small renal masses (SRMs) are among the most challenging forms of kidney cancer because they have a malignancy rate of 70 to 80 percent, but distinguishing them from renal cysts is difficult because of their small size (less than 4 centimeters in maximum dimension).

While radical nephrectomy was the gold standard not long ago, the current approach to treating an SRM is to preserve as much as possible of the healthy part of the kidney not involved with the mass.

To individualize the treatment based on factors such as the particular SRM, age and comorbidities, Jefferson's Renal Mass Program offers a multidisciplinary approach involving urologic oncologists and interventional radiologists, all of whom have specialized training in the latest minimally invasive techniques for the treatment of SRMs, including:

  • Laparoscopic and robotic nephrectomy (surgeons remove only the part of the kidney containing cancer)
  • Laparoscopic and percutaneous cryotherapy (destroys small cancerous tumors in the kidney through a freezing procedure)

Family Support

Further, your Jefferson team can provide you and your family a support network that includes specially trained nurses, educators, social workers, fellow patients and cancer survivors. Among the wide variety of support programs offered at Jefferson is our Buddy Program, which matches cancer patients with trained volunteer cancer survivors who have been through treatment themselves. These volunteers provide one-on-one support either over the telephone or on-site in the waiting area at the Bodine Center for Radiation Therapy/Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson.

You can also access services to meet your emotional and psychological needs during your course of treatment through the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are the best way patients can receive new therapies and procedures. To find out if a clinical trial might be right for you, ask your health care provider or contact the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Clinical Research Management Office at 215-955-1661.