Prevea Health

Kidney cancer


There are two kidneys, one on each side of the spine, above the waist. The kidneys clean the blood by taking out waste and making urine. Urine collects in the renal pelvis, the area at the center of the kidney, and then passes through the ureter, into the bladder and out of the body. The kidneys also make hormones that help control blood pressure and signal the bone marrow to make red blood cells when needed.

There are three main types of kidney cancer. Renal cell cancer is the most common type in adults and Wilms tumors are the most common in children. These types form in the tissues of the kidney that make urine. Transitional cell cancer forms in the renal pelvis and ureter in adults. This is also known as upper tract kidney cancer.

Smoking and taking certain pain medications for long periods of time increase the risk of adult kidney cancer. Certain inherited disorders can increase the risk of kidney cancer in children and adults. Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome and hereditary leiomyomatosis are associated with renal cell cancer. Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome is associated with hereditary papillary renal cancer.

Kidney tumors may be benign or malignant.

Treatment could involve surgery such as partial nephrectomy or radical nephrectomy, either open or via the da Vinci robot.

In addition to surgery, you may need treatment from other physician specialists such as medical oncology or radiation oncology. A cancer treatment team works together to develop an individualized plan to deliver the most effective treatment for each patient. Standard treatment may include one or a combination of the following:
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing.
  • Biologic therapy: Biologic therapy is a treatment that uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct or restore the body’s natural defenses against cancer. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy.
  • Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. Targeted therapy with antiangiogenic agents are used to treat advanced renal cell cancer.

Call to schedule an appointment with Prevea Urology:
Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay and Oconto Falls (920) 436-1359
Sheboygan, Plymouth and Manitowoc (920) 458-6664

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