At Chesapeake Urology, our physicians are leading experts in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney cancer. Providing the most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic options for kidney cancer patients, our team of experts ensure optimal outcomes and compassionate care. Because our physicians are on the leading edge of the most sophisticated technology, diagnostic and minimally invasive surgical procedures, as well as clinical trials, you can feel confident that you are in the very best hands.
Meet the Chesapeake Urology kidney cancer experts
About Kidney Cancer
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of adult kidney cancer. RCC is a mass that grows in the urine producing portion of the kidney and is typically more common than cancer of the renal pelvis, the part of the kidney that collects the urine. Renal cell carcinoma usually responds well to treatment in its early stages.
Symptoms of Renal Cell Carcinoma
Every patient is unique and may present with varying symptoms of renal cell carcinoma. Early RCC often has no symptoms and may be found during an exam for other medical conditions. Following are some of the more common symptoms:
- Blood in your urine (hematuria) - this is the most common sign of RCC
- Mass or lump in your abdominal area
- Pain in your side, flank or lower back
- Swelling in your legs and ankles
- Late symptoms include anemia (low blood count), persistent fatigue and rapid weight loss
Because a number of these symptoms can also be caused by other medical conditions, it's important to speak to your doctor about any symptoms you may experience and have annual physical exams to maintain your good health.
If you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms of RCC, your doctor will want to perform a full physical exam including blood work to obtain the most accurate diagnisis. Your doctor may also order additional imaging and lab tests to aid in a diagnisis, including:
- CT Scan, MRI or ultrasound
- Blood tests
- X-ray or bone scan - if cancer is diagnosed, these tests determine if cancer has spread to the lungs or bones
- Needle biopsy of the kidney mass, in rare circumstances
What's Next When a Diagnosis is Made?
If your doctor has diagnosed kidney cancer, he or she will sit with you and explain the next steps, including treatment. Your doctor and the cancer care team at Chesapeake Urology understand that a diagnosis of cancer is a scary and emotional time for you and your loved ones and will take the time to explain your options and answer any questions you may have. Following a diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma, your doctor will determine what stage the cancer is in.
Learn more about staging for kidney cancer here.
Treating Renal Cell Carcinoma
Developing a persnalized treatment plan is the goal of your doctor and the cancer care team at Chesapeake Urology. Our experts have extensive experience in advanced treatments for kidney cancer including minimally invasive surgery. Your doctor will discuss your treatment plan and which therapies are right for you.
Treatment may include the following:
- Surgery - the standard treatment for renal cell carcinoma, surgery is performed in the hospital. The following procedures sometimes can be performed laparoscopically or robotically, where several small incisions replace one larger one to permit less pain and faster recovery:
- Nephrectomy - removal of the whole kidney
- Radical nephrectomy - total removal of the kidney, nearby adrenal gland and lymph nodes
- Partial nephrectomy - the removal of only the cancerous part of the kidney. Studies have shown that this approach can be just as effective as a radical nephrectomy for many patients with early stage RCC.
- Cryosurgery - is the freezing of cancer cells to destroy them
- Radiofrequency ablation - involves the use of heat to destroy cancer cells
- Targeted therapy - is the use of chemotherapy-like agents that slow the growth of the tumor
Obtain more detailed information about renal cell carcinoma at Chesapeake Urology's main website here.