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What is the most common treatment for kidney cancer?

The most common treatment for kidney cancer is surgery. The type of surgery done depends on the severity of the cancer. For people with a very small tumor, or for people who only have one kidney, doctors may remove just the tumor and a small part of the surrounding tissue. For others, doctors often perform radical nephrectomy, which involves removing the entire kidney and occasionally some surrounding tissue, including the adrenal gland and nearby lymph nodes; or they may be able to perform simple nephrectomy, which is removal of only the kidney. If surgery is too risky, doctors may perform other procedures, including arterial embolization, which involves blocking the blood flow to the kidney in order to shrink the tumor. These procedures may be followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy to kill any remaining cancer cells.

If the kidney cancer has begun to spread, there are other treatment options available. One option is biological therapy, or immunotherapy, which uses drugs like interferon to encourage the body's immune system to attack the cancer. Drugs may also be used in the form of targeted therapy, in which drugs block the signals in cancer cells that tell them to grow.

Surgery is generally the primary treatment for kidney cancer (also known as renal cell carcinoma) and transitional cell carcinoma. This holds true for both early- and late-stage cancers (there are few definable symptoms early on). In renal cell carcinoma, total removal of the kidney (radical nephrectomy) has been increasingly displaced by partial nephrectomy in order to achieve excellent disease outcomes while maintaining adequate renal function and reducing other postsurgery complications.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.