Kidney Cancer

UM St. Joseph Medical Center’s Urologic Oncology Center provides experienced, coordinated care to patients who have been diagnosed with a urologic malignancy. If you or a loved one are diagnosed with a urologic cancer, you can take comfort in knowing the physicians at UM St. Josephs’ Urologic Cancer Center are trained in the most up-to-date treatments for prostate, kidney, and bladder cancer, and other complicated urologic diseases.

With laparoscopic kidney removal, of either a portion of the kidney or the entire organ, the surgery is far less invasive than open-abdomen procedures. Patients can return to normal activities in a fraction of the time previously required for recovery. Not every patient is a candidate for laparoscopic kidney surgery, and for those who are not, St. Joseph still performs conventional, open surgery with similar success rates to laparoscopic surgery.

Symptoms and Treatment

The Urologic Oncology Center also offers kidney-sparing surgery (nephron sparing). In certain instances, only a part of the kidney is removed with the tumor, allowing us to spare the remaining normal portion. This is appropriate for certain patients who have smaller tumors that are not centrally located in the kidney. We utilize both laparoscopic and robotic techniques to remove the tumor and then reconstruct the remaining kidney.

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests may include:

  • Blood and urine tests - to check kidney function or find substances that indicate kidney cancer may be present
  • Bone scan - a test using a special radioactive material that lights up bones undergoing an active process (such as tumor growth). Kidney cancer likes to spread to the bones, and this test is often performed to ensure the bones are not involved by the cancer
  • X-rays of the chest and abdomen - a test that uses radiation to take pictures of structures inside the body
  • Intravenous pyelogram - an x-ray of the kidneys and ureters after injection of contrast dye into the blood
  • Renal angiography - an x-ray of arteries that lead to a possible kidney tumor
  • CT scan - a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the inside of the kidneys and their surroundings
  • MRI scan - a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of the inside of the kidneys and their surroundings
  • Renal ultrasound - a test that uses sound waves to examine the kidneys
  • Laparoscopy - a thin, lighted tube inserted through a small incision in the abdomen to look at the kidney
  • Cytoscopy - examination of the bladder, ureters, and kidneys via a thin tube inserted through the urethra
  • Biopsy - removal of a sample of kidney tissue to test for cancer cells

For more information or to make an appointment call 410-427-5585.