Kidney Cancer Treatments

While surgery remains the most common kidney cancer treatment, advances in surgical techniques give you more kidney cancer treatment options today, including minimally invasive surgical alternatives. If surgery is not an option for you due to your unique condition, Aurora Cancer Care also offers other effective medical treatments for kidney cancer.

Aurora’s Treatment Options for Kidney Cancer

At Aurora, our kidney cancer treatments offer you the most advanced surgical techniques available today. Sometimes when the disease is closely confined within your kidney, our treatment may involve removing only the affected portion. This procedure is called a partial nephrectomy or nephron-sparing surgery, usually performed with minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery (link to robotic surgery). This surgical treatment improves outcomes and can help preserve your kidney’s function and involves removing only the cancerous part of your kidney while sparing essential kidney tissue through robotic surgery. Our Aurora surgeons perform this innovative surgery because they have dual knowledge in kidney reconstruction and vascular surgery techniques.

Robotic-assisted surgery lets our surgeons perform complex kidney cancer treatments with precise detail and less physical trauma to you. Since initiating our robotic-assisted surgery program in 2002, Aurora Health Care physicians have collectedly performed more than 3, 500 robotic-assisted procedures using the da Vinci Surgical System®.

If you’re diagnosed with kidney cancer, you also may be a candidate for innovative nonsurgical medical therapies to address your condition. Advances in medical technology, surgical procedures and treatment options give you hope by improving your outcomes and allowing you to maintain a normal lifestyle.

Surgical Treatments for Kidney Cancer

Radical nephrectomy: The most common type of kidney cancer surgery involves removing your entire kidney by an open incision made in your side. It also may be approached through small incisions inserted into your abdomen near your kidneys using a scope or through robotic surgery (link to robotic surgery). Our surgeons pass video and surgical instruments through tubes to remove your kidney.

Partial nephrectomy: Removing only the cancerous part of your kidney may be an option if your tumor is small (less than 7 centimeters) and confined to the top or bottom of the organ. The primary advantage of a partial nephrectomy is that it preserves your kidney function. This type of surgery can be done by minimally invasive surgery techniques using small incisions and a laparoscope or surgical robot.

Nonsurgical Treatments for Kidney Cancer

Aterial embolization: When your health does not allow surgery, this procedure involves injecting a special material into your artery that provides the blood supply to the cancerous kidney. Your kidney and tumor are deprived of blood flow, causing both to die. At a later date, if your health permits, your kidney is removed surgically.

Cryoablation: Similar to radiofrequency, this minimally invasive procedure uses gas instead of radiofrequency to essentially freeze your cancerous tumors.

Cancer immunotherapy: High-dose Interleukin-2 treatment is available if you have metastatic kidney cancer. Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center is currently the only hospital in Wisconsin to offer this FDA-approved treatment.

Targeted therapy: This treatment therapy uses drugs or other substances that can find and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. Antiangiogenic agents are a type of targeted therapy that may be used to treat advanced kidney cancer. These agents keep blood vessels from forming in a tumor, causing the tumor to starve and stop growing or to shrink.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses cancer-fighting drugs and is frequently used in combination with other therapies.

Clinical trials: New types of treatment are being tested in clinical trials. Ask your doctor if a clinical trial is available for your type of cancer.

Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is delivered to kidney cancer cells but is mostly used if your cancer has spread to other parts of your body.

Aurora Kidney Cancer Doctors

To find an experienced Aurora doctor who specializes in treating kidney cancer, select one of our specialists below and view their physician profile.

Sameer Sharma, MD
Aaron Sulman, MD
Mark Waples, MD
Greg Womack, MD
Alex Zacharias, MD

For more information, call 800-252-2990 or learn about Aurora’s Second Opinion Program or call 888-649-6892.