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Kidney Cancer

Kidney Cancer

Surgery

There are a number of treatment options for kidney cancer. The ideal treatment depends on a number of factors, including the extent of the tumour and the current health of the patient. Treatment options vary and these should be discussed with the doctor to identify which is the best course of treatment for individual patients. They include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

The most common form of surgery for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is radical nephrectomywhichinvolves removal of the entire kidney, often along with the attached adrenal gland, surrounding fatty tissues and nearby lymph nodes (regional lymphadenectomy), depending upon how far the cancer has spread.

It may be possible to remove only the cancerous tissue and part of the kidney if the tumour is small and confined to the very top or bottom of the kidney. This is known as apartial nephrectomyand may be the preferred choice for patients with RCC in both kidneys or for those who have only one functioning kidney.

Surgery: Radical Nephrectomy

Laparoscopic techniques allow the kidney to be removed using three 1cm “keyhole” incisions in the abdomen. A laparascope (small telescope/camera) is inserted into one of the incisions and takes pictures.

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Surgery: Robotic Partial Nephrectomy

A nephrectomy is the surgical removal of the kidney. A partial nephrectomy or kidney-sparing procedure involves the removal of only the unhealthy portion of the kidney, leaving healthy tissue intact. It is indicated for kidney cancer and severely diseased or damaged areas of the kidney.

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Thermal Ablation

For patients with small tumours who may not be ideal surgical candidates, image-guided ablation of kidney cancers is an option. Instead of making surgical incisions, A/Prof Patel places small needles through the skin and uses x-rays to guide them into the cancer.

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Active Surveillance

This is the least invasive treatment option for small kidney tumours (less than 4cm), which are less likely to be aggressive.  Rather than treating the tumour immediately, it is observedover time using regular ultrasounds or CT scans.  If the tests suggest that the tumour is growing at any time, treatment will commence.

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