Kidney cancer treatment and diagnosis

Kidney cancer

We specialize in the latest technologies to treat kidney cancer that are proven to be effective. We work with teams of kidney specialists who will be with you every step of the way, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond, to ensure that you receive the best possible care during your time with us. Kidney cancer is one of the most common cancer types among Americans and in 2019 there were an estimated 75,000 new cases in the U.S. Early diagnosis and effective treatment can mean a positive outcome.

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Chapter 1

Diagnosis

Kidney cancer is often diagnosed with pathology tests, such as a biopsy and blood tests, and imaging scans such as CT and MRI, although your doctor may use other techniques to identify the problem. You may also have other advanced tests to find out more about your cancer, where it’s located and which treatments are likely to be most effective. Some of these tests are also used to assess how well your treatment is working.

Find your nearest GenesisCare center to find out what diagnostic tests and scans are available in your local area. Whatever your outcome, our expert team will support you throughout your treatment journey.

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Chapter 2

Surgery

We work with expert teams of renal surgeons who are specially trained in surgical removal of benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) tumors of the kidney. There are different procedures used for the kidney cancer treatment and your surgeon will recommend the most appropriate one for you depending on the size and location of your tumor and how well your kidneys are functioning.

The most common procedure for early-stage kidney cancer is partial nephrectomy. Your surgeon removes the part of the kidney where the small tumors are located, leaving the rest of the kidney behind. In more advanced cases, a radical nephrectomy may be performed to remove the whole kidney. During this procedure, your surgeon typically also removes your adrenal gland, nearby lymph nodes and fatty tissue surrounding the kidney.

Chapter 3

Ablation

Ablation is not often used for kidney cancer, but if the tumors are small and you aren’t fit enough for surgery, it may be an option. With image-guided ablation therapy, your clinician uses an imaging technology such as a CT scan or MRI to guide the ablation technology to the tumor site. Ablation technology includes:

  • Cryotherapy – using extreme cold to freeze and destroy the tumor
  • Radiofrequency – using high-energy radio waves to heat and destroy the tumor
Chapter 4

Radiation therapy

External beam radiation therapy (ERBT)

External beam radiation therapy (ERBT) delivers high-powered X-rays from outside the body, precisely targeting and shrinking or destroying tumors. Radiation therapy may be recommended if you’re not suitable for surgery or if you only have one kidney.

At GenesisCare we offer fast access to the latest technologies and treatments that have been proven to make a difference. These include:

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)

IMRT is an advanced external beam radiation therapy technique where the beams of radiation are precisely shaped to exactly match your tumor and damage to adjacent healthy tissues is limited.

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT)

SBRT uses extremely focused, high-energy radiation beams to destroy tumors in few treatment sessions, sometimes five or less. It can used as an alternative to surgery.

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Chapter 5

Medical oncology

At GenesisCare, we offer various drug therapies and a wide range of the latest anti-cancer drugs for kidney cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.

Chemotherapy for kidney cancers

Chemotherapy refers to drugs that destroy cancer cells. Our expert teams may recommend chemotherapy before or after other surgery, or on its own. It can also be combined with radiation therapy (chemoradiation). The type of chemotherapy you’ll receive will also depend on your how advanced your kidney cancer is. If your cancer has spread to other parts of your body, chemotherapy may help control its growth, relieve symptoms and improve your kidney cancer prognosis.

Targeted therapy for kidney cancer

As researchers know more about non-small cell kidney cancers, they have developed new treatments that can specifically target it. We use targeted therapy to seek and attack cellular activity that the cancer depends on to survive and grow. They are used depending on the specific genetic make up of your cancer. Types of targeted therapy for non-small cell kidney cancer include:

  • Agiogenesis inhibitors – suitable for some kidney cancers, work by blocking the protein VEGF which promotes new blood vessel formation and helps tumors grow
  • RTK inhibitors – block the proteins that are found near and on the surface of the kidney cancer cells which help the tumor grow
  • mTOR inhibitors – suitable for advanced kidney cancers and block the protein mTOR which makes cancer cells develop and divide

Immunotherapy for kidney cancer

Immunotherapy helps your body’s own immune system to recognize and fight the cancer, it can be used to treat some kinds of advanced kidney cancers.

Checkpoint inhibitors are an effective immunotherapy against some kidney cancers and they work by blocking the signals that stop the immune system from attacking the kidney cancer cells.

Cytokines are another kind of immunotherapy that can be used to improve your kidney cancer prognosis. They work by boosting your immune system to fight against kidney cancer cells.

Chapter 6

Advanced disease

If kidney cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it’s called advanced or metastatic kidney cancer. There are treatment options for advanced kidney cancer at GenesisCare and our goal is to deliver exceptional treatment and care in a way that enhances every aspect of your cancer journey.

Palliative radiation therapy

Palliative radiation therapy does not aim to cure advanced kidney cancer, but is used to help shrink, slow down the growth, or control your symptoms to give you a better quality of life. Most people don’t need long courses of palliative care, it might be anything between one and ten treatments. However, it’s not suitable for everyone. Your primary care physician is the best person talk with about the best way forward for you.

Chapter 7

Why choose GenesisCare?

People choose GenesisCare so they can access the latest technologies, effective treatments and personalized care that’s tailored to them without delay.

Cancer treatment and care is constantly evolving and we offer the world’s latest evidence-based treatments that have been shown to benefit patients. By working together closely, our multidisciplinary teams of oncologists, surgeons, radiation therapists and other healthcare specialists provide care that’s focused on you, not just your cancer.

We know that for many people, cancer is a life-changing experience and our goal is to help you through it in the most positive way possible. That’s why as well as offering exceptional cancer treatments, we also provide you with support and resources for your cancer journey—including advice about nutrition and exercise, expert help for managing side effects and information on local support groups.

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Our centers are conveniently located throughout the United States, and each location has a dedicated Office Financial Counselor on hand to help you with your paperwork and answer your questions. We accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare Part B, which covers physician services, including radiation therapy.