Treatment for kidney cancer can vary widely depending on the tumor’s stage and whether the cancer has spread to other organs. Small tumors may not need immediate surgery, while cancer that has spread will require a complex and multidisciplinary approach.
Kidney Cancer FAQ
Kidney Cancer frequently asked questions (FAQ) are answered by urologist and kidney cancer specialist, Nirmish Singla, including who is likely to develop kidney cancer, common symptoms, treatment options and current research at the Johns Hopkins Brady Urological Institute. Dr. Singla helps lead the multidisciplinary Kidney Cancer Program at Johns Hopkins.
Kidney Cancer: Why Choose Johns Hopkins
- We use the most advanced treatment options such as robotic surgery, minimally invasive surgical techniques and active surveillance to develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient.
- Our team includes experts in surgery (urologists), cancer (oncologists) and kidney disease (nephrologists). This multidisciplinary approach is especially important for kidney cancer that may have spread (metastasized).
- For aggressive or advanced cancers, our urologic oncologists and medical oncologists use their expertise with the latest treatments and combinations of approaches — including surgery, systemic therapy and clinical trials — to treat cancer.
- We actively conduct research into kidney cancer, and apply our findings to treatments. For example, our research shows that many kidney cancer patients with small tumors can be followed safely without the need for immediate surgery.
Kidney Cancer | Kevin’s Story
After being diagnosed with a massive tumor that had grown out of his kidney, up the vena cava and into his heart, Kevin shares the story of the multidisciplinary approach that saved his life.
Each member of our kidney cancer team is dedicated to providing compassionate care while developing the most effective, advanced and personalized treatment plan for you.
Active Surveillance for Kidney Cancer
Research led by Johns Hopkins urologists shows that for many kidney cancer patients with small tumors, immediate surgery may not be necessary. Instead, doctors can monitor the tumor with regular follow-ups and testing, and only operate if it grows. Learn more about the active surveillance approach and the Delayed Intervention and Surveillance for Small Renal Masses (DISSRM) program.
Treatment for Kidney Cancer
One size does not fit all when it comes to kidney cancer treatment. Your surgeon will tailor treatment options depending on the extent of your cancer, whether it has spread to other organs and if you have any other health conditions.
For small tumors that have not spread, you may be a candidate for our active surveillance program, in which you will receive regular observation and imaging, but treatment is delayed unless the tumor grows.
Our experts treat hundreds of patients each year using a complete range of surgical techniques:
- Nephrectomy with vein/vena cava involvement
- Radical nephrectomy (total kidney removal)
- Partial nephrectomy (kidney-sparing surgery)
Minimally Invasive Techniques
While surgery is the primary treatment for kidney cancer, some treatments may also include complementary therapies, such as radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.