Choosing the Best Kidney Cancer Treatment for You


Sarah Lewis, PharmD

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Doctor with hand on patients shoulder

Kidney cancer usually causes no symptoms, so doctors often discover it once a tumor is quite large. Sometimes, kidney cancer may even show up during a test for another condition. Fortunately, kidney cancer is still limited to the kidney at the time of diagnosis in most cases. That helps guide treatment.

Generally, doctors base treatment options on the cancer’s stage and grade and a person’s overall health. Here is a summary of the treatment options for kidney cancer.

Surgery or Tumor Destruction

Surgery removes all or part of the kidney. People can survive with only one kidney, but keeping as much of the affected kidney as possible helps preserve kidney function. This may prevent the need for dialysis in the future. There are many versions of this surgery, including both open and minimally invasive procedures. In some cases, doctors may recommend destroying the tumor without removing it. This is an ablation or embolization.

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