Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancer Treatment

Kidney cancer treatment options can vary depending on your diagnosis and how far the kidney cancer has advanced. An oncologist will take into account the size and stage of the tumor, your previous treatment history and the individual characteristics of your condition before recommending one or more treatment strategies. At Moffitt Cancer Center, every patient’s treatment plan is created and closely monitored by a collaborative tumor board, consisting of surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and other cancer specialists. Every treatment plan is highly individualized based on the unique dynamics of the patient’s condition.

Most kidney cancer treatment plans will incorporate one or more of the following options:

  • Surgery – Oncologists will sometimes recommend the removal of either part or all of an affected kidney. A partial nephrectomy removes some of the kidney tissue, while a simple nephrectomy removes an entire kidney. A radical nephrectomy involves removing a kidney, plus the surrounding tissue, adrenal gland and nearby lymph nodes.
  • Radiation therapy – The affected tissue is treated with high-energy X-rays or other forms of radiation therapy, which are designed to kill the malignant cells or prevent them from growing and spreading.
  • Chemotherapy – This approach uses drugs to either destroy the cancer cells or prevent them from dividing. The method of delivery recommended will depend on the type and stage of the kidney cancer.
  • Biologic therapy – Sometimes called immunotherapy or biotherapy, this kidney cancer treatment boosts a patient’s immune system to help battle the cancer cells. Substances that are created naturally in the body or synthesized in a laboratory are used to strengthen the body’s natural defense system against cancerous cells.

In addition, an oncologist may recommend molecularly targeted therapy, a treatment process that uses drugs and other substances to attack very specific kidney cancer cells while minimizing harm to nearby healthy cells. At Moffitt Cancer Center, our oncologists may also suggest that you participate in one of our groundbreaking clinical trials, which could involve treatment options that are not available anywhere else. Patients in our Urologic Oncology Program benefit from our ongoing commitment to remain at the leading edge of kidney cancer research – just one of several factors that led to Moffitt being designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.  To learn more about kidney cancer treatment options, or to get answers to additional questions you may have, call 1-888-MOFFITT, or schedule an appointment using our online form. No referral is necessary to meet with our experienced oncologists specializing in kidney cancer.