Kidney cancer presents in many shapes and forms. However, the presentation is rarely directly associated with the cancer itself. For example, a patient may happen to find an abnormal growth on the kidney during an CT evaluation for gall stones. Most kidney cancers must grow to a considerable size before they cause pain or can be felt on physical examination.
The earliest and most curable kidney cancers are detected before they are 7 cm in size and before they penetrate the capsule of the kidney. Since chemotherapy and radiation have a very limited ability to cure kidney cancer, successful treatment depends heavily on surgery. Surgical removal of the kidney (radical nephrectomy) results in cure in a high percentage of these cases. A more recent trend in smaller cancers (less than 4 cm) is to only remove the portion of the kidney containing the kidney (partial nephrectomy).
While surgery for kidney cancer has traditionally involved an incision with or without removal of a rib, many new techniques are now commonly used in select cases. These techniques include laparoscopy, in which the surgery is performed using a scope and small instruments inserted though small incisions in the skin, as well as cryoablation where the tumor is destroyed by freezing and radio frequency ablation where the tumor is destroyed using high frequency radio energy.
Copyright (C) 2019 Steven A. Johnson, M.D., P.A.