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Kidney Cancer Treatment

Updated: Feb 15, 2020

When you or a loved one is diagnosed with kidney cancer, you want to know your treatment options. As with all cancers, kidney cancer has different levels of severity. Stage I and II cancers are still contained within the kidney and have not metastasized, or spread, to other parts of your body. Stage III kidney cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or a large vein close to the kidney. If you are diagnosed with Stage IV kidney cancer, this means that the cancer has grown out of the kidney or it has spread to other parts of the body.

Kidney cancer treatment options

Kidney cancer is usually removed with surgery, when possible. Your doctor will perform a partial or full nephrectomy depending on the severity of the cancer. If the cancer has advanced to Stage III, your doctor may need to surgically access the affected vein or lymph node to remove the cancer. Depending on the severity and type of cancer found, more than one type of treatment may be required.


During this procedure, your doctor will remove either a part of or your entire affected kidney. Typically a partial nephrectomy can be performed if the tumor measures seven centimeters or smaller.

Ablation and other local therapies

For those who are too sick to have surgery, there are nonsurgical treatment options available:

  1. Cryotherapy injects extremely cold gases into the tumor, creating an ice ball that destroys the tumor.

  2. Radiofrequency ablation injects high-energy radio waves into the tumor to heat the tumor and destroy the cancer cells.

  3. Arterial embolization injects synthetic material (designed to stop the flow of blood) into a nearby artery that feeds the affected kidney. This will cut off the kidney’s blood supply and cause the kidney and tumor to shrink.

  4. Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation beams externally to target and kill cancer cells. The treatment is a similar experience to having an x-ray.

Targeted therapies

Several medications have been developed to treat advanced kidney cancer and are often the first line of defense in advanced cases. They can often shrink or slow the growth of the tumor for a time, but they do not appear to cure the cancer.


This is a biologic therapy that is used to boost the immune system in order to help the body fight and destroy cancer cells.

We work with you, care for you, educate you and learn from you. A large part of our commitment to providing top-quality cancer care is to also provide the kindness, respect and compassion you deserve. Call the START Center for Cancer Care today at 210-593-5790 to get started.


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