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Kidney Cancer

Our Approach

Kidney cancer surgeon Christopher Wood, M.D., discusses treatment options with his patient. Dr. Wood is skilled in minimally invasive surgery techniques to treat kidney cancer.

MD Anderson's method of delivering personalized care for kidney cancer can make a crucial difference in your outcome and recovery. In the Genitourinary Cancer Center, you are the focus of a team of experts who specialize in kidney cancer and strive to provide the most-advanced treatment with the least impact on your body.

Working together, this team of surgical and medical oncologists, as well as a specially trained support staff, utilizes the latest leading-edge technology and techniques from diagnosis through treatment. Your kidney cancer treatment options may include:

  • Kidney-sparing surgery
  • Laparoscopic and robotic surgery
  • Targeted therapies including Sutent® (sunitinib) Nexavar® (sorafenib) Torisel® (temsirolimus) and Avastin® (bevacizumab)
  • Immunotherapy, including interferon and interleukin-2
  • Cryoablation, radiofrequency ablation and active surveillance

And at MD Anderson you're surrounded by the strength of one of the nation's largest and most experienced comprehensive cancer centers, which has all the support and wellness services needed to treat the whole person – not just the disease.

Experience Matters

While the American Urological Association estimates the average urologist sees six cancer and non-cancer kidney tumor cases a year, MD Anderson treats more than 700 kidney cancer patients annually. This gives us an extraordinary level of expertise and experience that can make a vital difference in the success of your treatment and recovery.

At MD Anderson, you benefit from one of the most active kidney cancer research programs in the United States. This means we are able to offer a wide range of clinical trials (research studies) for new treatments for most types and stages of kidney cancer.

If you have been diagnosed with kidney cancer, we're here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • New generation targeted therapies for kidney cancer
  • Experience with kidney-sparing surgery
  • Laparoscopic and robotic surgery, cryoablation and radiofrequency ablation
  • One of most active kidney cancer programs in the United States
  • Variety of clinical trials of new agents for kidney cancer
  • Teams of experts provide customized kidney cancer treatment

Kidney Cancer Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Kidney cancer is treated in our: 

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"I always lived for 'one of these days,' but not anymore. I live for today and tomorrow, and thank God if I’m here next year."

Kidney Cancer Survivor Hugo Robledo

Kidney Cancer Facts

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 58,240 people were diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2010. In the 1980s, up to 80% of kidney cancers were in advanced stages when they were diagnosed. Today, thanks to more advanced detection methods, only about 40% of cases are advanced at diagnosis.

You have two kidneys, one on each side of the back above the waist. Kidneys filter blood, and the waste is carried in the urine, which is produced by microscopic tubules. Urine flows into the ureter tubes and down into the bladder. Cancer arises from the microscopic tubules inside the kidney. Although kidney cancer usually grows as a single mass within the kidney, a kidney may contain more than one tumor, or tumors may be found in both kidneys.

Surgery offers the highest chance for successful treatment when kidney cancer has not spread. Once the cancer has spread beyond the kidney, the chance for successful treatment becomes much lower. Since 2006, new-generation drugs called targeted therapies have become available to control the cancer more successfully than prior medications.

Kidney Cancer Types

Renal cell carcinoma (cancer) (RCC) is the most prevalent form of kidney cancer. Types of RCC include clear cell, papillary, chromophobe and collecting duct carcinomas. Clear cell carcinoma accounts for 80% of all RCC cases, and most treatments are focused on this type.

Wilms’ tumor is a childhood cancer, responsible for 95% of pediatric kidney cancer cases. Learn more about Wilms' tumor.

Urothelial cancer of the kidney pelvis and ureter: Cancer of the urinary tract that occurs in the kidney or ureter is called urothelial carcinoma. It is not considered kidney cancer, although it is frequently called that in error.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center