Renal Cell Carcinoma Treatment and Kidney Cancer Surgery

Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer is the eighth most common cancer in the U.S., but it’s not widely talked about. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with kidney cancer, you may need kidney cancer surgery, renal cell carcinoma treatment, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy. Whatever treatment plan is best for you, Penn Highlands Healthcare offers excellent kidney cancer care in Central Pennsylvania.

Detecting Kidney Cancer

Routine kidney cancer screening isn’t recommended for people at average risk for the disease. That means unless you have previously been treated with long-term dialysis or radiation to the kidneys, or you’ve been diagnosed with an inherited condition that would raise your risk for kidney cancer, you won’t be screened.

Because there’s no screening option for people at average risk, you are most likely to be diagnosed upon seeking care for related symptoms or if signs of kidney cancer show up while you’re being tested for another condition. Symptoms of kidney cancer include:

  • Anemia
  • Blood in the urine
  • Low back pain on one side with unknown cause
  • A lump on the side or lower back
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Persistent fever

To diagnose your kidney problems, your Penn Highlands physician will start by taking your medical history and performing a physical exam. If a urinalysis or blood test indicates a potential problem, you’ll be referred to a nephrologist, or a physician who specializes in kidney diseases, who will most likely recommend a CT scan or other test. If kidney cancer is detected, Penn Highlands’ expert oncology team are available to create a customized treatment plan.

Kidney Cancer Treatment

The best treatment for kidney cancer will depend on several factors, including the stage of your cancer and your overall health. Sometimes very small kidney cancer tumors are treated with “active surveillance,” which simply means they are monitored to see if they grow. If the tumor does not grow, you might not need any treatment at all.

Most frequently, stage 1, 2 and 3 kidney cancers are treated with surgery to remove only the diseased part of the kidney or the entire affected kidney. Surgery may be followed by targeted therapy to reduce your risk for the cancer returning. Stage 4 kidney cancer is sometimes treated with surgery, depending on how far the cancer has spread. Or, targeted therapy and immunotherapy may be the main treatments.