Kidney cancer is cancer that begins in the kidneys. Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They're behind your abdominal organs, with one kidney on each side of your spine.
In adults, renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer. Other less common types of kidney cancer can occur. Together, you and our team of specialists can discuss your kidney cancer treatment options. The best approach for you may depend on a number of factors, including your general health, the kind of kidney cancer you have, whether the cancer has spread and your preferences for treatment.
For most kidney cancers, surgery is commonly performed. Surgery seeks to remove the cancer while preserving normal kidney function, when possible. The surgeon may perform the procedure through a single incision in the abdomen or side, known as an open nephrectomy, or through a series of small incisions in the abdomen, known as a laparoscopic or robotic-assisted laparoscopic nephrectomy.
Also called kidney-sparing or nephron-sparing surgery, the surgeon removes the cancer and a small margin of healthy tissue that surrounds it rather than the entire kidney.
A complete, or radical, nephrectomy involves removing the entire kidney, a border of healthy tissue and occasionally additional nearby tissues, such as the lymph nodes, adrenal gland or other structures.