Diagnosis and Treatment

Most people with kidney cancer have no noticeable symptoms

The majority of kidney tumors are found incidentally when an imaging study, such as CT scan, MRI or ultrasound, is performed for an unrelated reason. There are a number of known risk factors for the development of kidney cancer, including cigarette smoking and hereditary conditions.

Kidney cancer patients who come to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have the most current treatments available to them. Options for treatment include:

  • Kidney mass biopsy taking a small tissue sample of the kidney tumor to determine if it is cancerous or benign
  • Active surveillance many small kidney masses can be watched closely over time and may never need treatment
  • Partial nephrectomy (laparoscopic or open; or robotic) removing only the affected portion of the kidney, leaving the normal kidney behind
  • Ablation treating kidney cancer by heating or freezing it to avoid surgery
  • Nephrectomy (laparoscopic or open; or robotic) removing the entire kidney when necessary
  • Chemotherapy given for advanced kidney cancer affecting other organs

The University of Michigan Multidisciplinary Urologic Oncology Clinic is staffed by nationally recognized experts in kidney cancer diagnosis and treatment urologic surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and pathologists. Cases that require more specialized care are discussed amongst our entire team at our cancer conference to determine the most effective course of treatment. Our physicians work together in the same clinic so you will be able to see all necessary specialists in the same visit.

Children diagnosed with Wilm's Tumor and other forms of kidney cancer are treated by the Solid Tumor Program in C. S. Mott Children's Hospital. Get more information about on the Wilm's Tumor webpage.

Still have questions?

The nurses at Cancer AnswerLine™ have answers. Call 1-800-865-1125 and you'll get a personal response from one of our registered nurses, who have years of experience in caring for people with cancer.

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