Skip to Main Content

Kidney Cancer

Appointments

Request an appointment online or
call us. 1-844-324-HOPE (4673)

Kidney (or renal) cancer originates in the kidneys — two bean-shaped organs around the size of a human fist. Kidneys are behind your abdominal organs. There is one on each side of your spine. About 62,700 new cases of kidney cancer occur annually in the U.S.

Depending on the extent of disease, a single therapy or combination of treatments will manage your kidney cancer. As a national academic medical center, Sylvester offers you leading-edge treatments including kidney-sparing surgery, laparoscopic and robotic surgery, immunotherapy, cryoablation and radiofrequency ablation.

We may also recommend "active surveillance" if you have a slow-growing kidney cancer. This means we can spare you unnecessary treatment by following you carefully, and waiting until your cancer is a true risk, based on your case.

Types of Kidney Cancer

  • Renal cell cancer: Found in the lining of tubules in the kidney. Renal cells make liquid urine. Renal cell cancer accounts for about 80 percent of kidney cancers. Renal cell cancer is the most common name for kidney cancer.
  • Transitional cell cancer of the ureter and renal pelvis: Malignant cells form in the renal pelvis (where ureters connect) or in the ureters. Ureters are the long tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. This type of cancer accounts for only 7 percent of all kidney tumors.
  • Wilms tumors: These are the most common kidney cancers in children.

Why Choose Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center?


Advanced radiation therapy options like ViewRay (one of just five centers nationwide) and RapidArc®, offering intensity modulated external radiation therapy (IMRT). Our leading-edge technology offers more efficient and effective treatments, shorter treatment times, pinpoint accuracy in the targeting of tumors, and less damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

More cancer clinical trials than any other South Florida hospital. If appropriate for your cancer and stage, our clinical trials provide you with the very newest ways to treat and potentially cure your cancer.

The only designated Cancer Center of Excellence in South Florida. We treat cancer, and only cancer, giving you the best potential outcomes. The likelihood of surviving cancer after five years at a Dedicated Cancer Center is 17 percent higher than at other hospitals.

Multidisciplinary care teams with nationally recognized expertise. Collaboration saves lives. Your care team is made up of experts in your exact type of cancer, and every single aspect of it.

High-tech imaging expertise using the most advanced technology available. TThis allows us to distinguish between normal and abnormal findings, providing you with an accurate diagnosis. We develop a personalized treatment plan for you.

A top-ranked program for kidney and bladder cancer treatment. We offer advanced care for urologic cancers and are ranked among the top five kidney and bladder cancer programs in the country. Our urologists are dedicated to identifying cancer early so we can provide more effective treatment. We were the first — and only — medical center in South Florida to use enhanced Blue Light Cystoscopy with Cysview imaging technology to detect and identify bladder cancer. 

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.

Treatments


Kidney cancer treatment is based on the exact type of kidney cancer diagnosed, your overall health and medical history, and the extent of the disease. You have the services of our multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists who will work together to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for you. A single or combination therapy will manage your kidney cancer.

Treatments for kidney cancers include:

  • Partial Nephrectomy

    This surgery removes just the tumor within the kidney and some of the tissue around it. This procedure can prevent loss of kidney function when the other kidney is damaged (or if it has already been removed).

  • Radical Nephrectomy

    This surgery removes the whole kidney, as well as the adrenal gland, surrounding tissue, and often the nearby lymph nodes. We often recommend it for larger or multiple kidney tumors. Specialists at Sylvester can typically do these laparoscopically and robotically with smaller incisions and shorter recovery time.

  • Nephroureterectomy

    This surgical technique helps in cases of transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter. We remove the kidney, ureter, and bladder cuff. This procedure can also be done robotically with a high degree of accuracy.

  • Segmental Resection of the Ureter

    Also for transitional cell cancer of the renal pelvis and ureter, this procedure removes the part of the ureter that is cancerous and some of the healthy tissue surrounding it. The ends of the ureter are re-attached. This treatment is used in superficial cases when the cancer is only in the lower third of the ureter, near the bladder.

  • Radiofrequency (RF) Ablation and Cryoablation (Freezing)

    Very high or low temperatures can be used in a minimally invasive fashion to kill cancer cells without surgery.

  • Arterial Embolization

    The tumor can be shrunk with arterial embolization if surgery is not possible. We create a small incision and place a catheter into the main blood vessel flowing to the kidney. Small pieces of a special gelatin are released to block the blood flow to the kidney. This prevents the cancer cells from getting oxygen and other substances they need to grow. It may also be used before an operation to make surgery easier.

  • External Radiation Therapy

    This technique sends high levels of radiation precisely and directly to the cancer cells using a machine directed at the body. When compared with other cancers, kidney cancers are more resistant to radiation. Modern stereotactic radiation has been able to overcome this resistance. Delivering high doses of radiation in only a few treatments can result in improved tumor and pain control.

  • Chemotherapy

    This use of anticancer drugs to treat cancerous cells works, in most cases. Chemotherapy interferes with the cancer cell's ability to grow or reproduce. These drugs may be given into a vein or by mouth, in tablet form.

  • Biological Therapy

    Also called immunotherapy, this approach fights cancer by using material made by the body, or in a laboratory, to restore the body's natural defense against disease. Interferon and Interleukin are two examples of biological drugs used in the treatment of renal cell cancer.

  • Hormone Therapy

    This helps to adjust or block other natural hormones produced by the body. This type of therapy is used in a small number of patients with advanced kidney cancer.

  • Targeted Therapy

    Antiangiogenic agents enable treatment of advanced renal cell cancer. These keep blood vessels from forming in a tumor, causing the tumor to starve and stop growing or shrink. Monoclonal antibodies and kinase inhibitors are two specific examples of antiangiogenic agents that are used in the treatment of renal cell cancer.


Tests


In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, procedures for diagnosing kidney cancer may include the following:

  • Ultrasound

    High-frequency sound waves along with a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds are relied upon to view internal organs as they function, as well as to assess how blood flows through various vessels.

  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

    CT scans rely on a combination of X-rays along with computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images of pelvic organs. They are more detailed than general X-rays and check for abnormalities of the kidneys or other structures.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

    This type of scan combines the use of large magnets, radio waves, and a computer to produce elaborate images of organs and structures that are in the body.

  • Urine Tests

    • Urinalysis: Examines a urine sample, looking at both the color and content, such as protein, red and white blood cells and sugar.

    • Urine cytology: Examines a urine sample is examined under a microscope for abnormal cells.

  • Blood Chemistry Studies

    A blood sample is taken and then examined to measure the levels of certain substances released into the bloodstream by the kidneys. An amount that is unusually higher or lower than normal can be an indicator of kidney disease.

  • Liver Function Test

    A blood sample is examined for any unusual amounts of specific enzymes, which might indicate that cancer has spread to the liver.

  • Ureteroscopy

    A ureteroscope, a thin tube, is inserted through the urethra into the ureter, bladder, and renal pelvis. A tool may then be inserted through the ureteroscope to biopsy tissue samples that can be examined under a microscope, looking for signs of disease.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry First Health PPO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • DIKLA
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • EHN PPO
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • FCCI WC
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Seasons Hospice
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care