The kidneys are a pair of organs, about the size of a fist, on either side of the spine in the lower abdomen. They are part of the urinary tract and make urine by removing waste and extra water from the blood.
Kidney cancer is a disease in which cells in the kidneys begin to change and grow abnormally, forming a mass of cells called a tumor. There are a few main types of kidney cancer:
- Renal cell carcinoma, which is cancer that forms in the lining of very small tubes in the kidney that filter blood and remove waste
- Renal pelvis carcinoma, which is cancer that forms in the center of the kidney where urine collects
- Wilms tumor, which is most common in children and is treated differently than adult kidney cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 51,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year.
Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program
The Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program offers a range of diagnostic procedures, advanced treatment options and personalized support services for people with suspected or diagnosed kidney cancer.
Each patient receives an individualized treatment plan based on the stage of the kidney cancer as well as their age and other health factors. Patients may obtain a second opinion outpatient consultation with a Fox Chase Cancer Center oncologist who meets with the patient and family at Virtua.
The Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program offers advanced treatment options, including:
- Traditional and minimally invasive surgical options such as cryoablation, which destroys kidney cancer cells with extreme cold
- A range of clinical trials through national and regional associations as well as those that originate at Fox Chase Cancer Center
- Radiation therapy
Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program’s interdisciplinary care teams are staffed by oncology experts including board-certified, fellowship-trained urologists who have completed advanced training at leading medical institutions such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Duke University Medical Center.
In addition, oncology certified and advanced practice nurses provide support and education to patients and their families. The interdisciplinary care team may also include:
- Medical oncologists
- Radiation oncologists
- Oncology social workers
- Dietitians and physical therapists
Kidney Cancer Treatment
Treating kidney cancer requires a team of specialists because the care often includes surgery and other therapies as well as nursing care and physical, practical and emotional support. The Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program provides these services and more in a coordinated and supportive environment.
Surgery is the most common treatment for kidney cancer. But other therapies – and combinations of therapies – may also play a role in treatment. Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program provides the following treatment options:
- Surgical removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue
- Cryoablation - surgical technique that uses argon gas to deep freeze and destroy abnormal tissue. The procedure can be performed laparoscopically or by other minimally invasive techniques.
- Biologic therapy (also known as immunotherapy) – the use of natural substances produced by the body's immune system to fight cancer throughout the body.
The Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program also offers a range of supportive services to help patients control pain, manage symptoms, relieve any side effects of therapy and deal with the emotional aspects of cancer.
Learn more about minimally invasive surgery through robotic-assisted surgery, which uses a state-of-the-art surgical system. The technology allows the doctor to perform complex procedures through just a few tiny openings. As a result, you may be able to get back to life faster without the usual recovery following major surgery.