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Kidney cancer care

Comprehensive prevention, detection and treatment for people with kidney cancer

Allina Health offers a complete range of whole person care aimed at preventing, detecting and treating cancers of the kidney. Your health care team will include experienced and compassionate providers who will work closely with you through every step of your kidney cancer care. 

The main types of kidney cancer are: 

  • Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of kidney cancer. Also called kidney cancer or renal cell adenocarcinoma, this cancer is found in the lining of tubules (very small tubes) in the kidney. Types of RCC include clear cell, papillary, chromophobe and collecting duct carcinomas. Clear cell carcinoma accounts for most RCC cases. Most treatments focus on this type. 

  • Transitional cell carcinoma (urothelial carcinoma) is cancer that starts in the lining of the renal pelvis (the part of the kidney that collects urine and drains it to the ureters), where the kidneys and ureters meet.   

  • Wilms’ tumor (nephroblastoma) is a rare childhood cancer, responsible for most pediatric kidney cancer cases. This type of cancer has a very high rate of successful treatment when detected and treated early. 

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Kidney cancer care at Allina Health

At Allina Health, we believe in a whole person approach to your kidney cancer care, considering your overall well-being, which includes your body, mind and soul. Kidney cancer detection and treatment is handled by our Genitourinary Cancer Program. They are a highly skilled team of experts who offer diagnosis and treatment of cancers including prostate, kidney, bladder and testicular. 

Your team of cancer care specialists focuses on your overall level of health and includes a dedicated nurse navigator, who will help coordinate your care and be your primary point of contact from diagnosis through treatment and recovery. 

We also want you to be involved in your care. One way you can take charge of your care is through the Allina Health account, an online tool that lets you track your appointments, review your test results and communicate with your health care team. 

Diagnosis of kidney cancer

In the diagnosis of kidney cancer, your provider may look for signs or symptoms that may include:  

  • blood in your urine (hematuria) 

  • a mass in your kidney(s) (renal mass) 

  • anemia found through a complete blood count (CBC)  

Your provider may also order tests to diagnose kidney cancer, which may include:  

Upon a diagnosis of kidney cancer, your provider may order the following imaging tests:  

In some cases of kidney cancer can be passed down from one generation to the next. Genetic counseling may be right for you. 

Kidney cancer treatment options

Your cancer care team will work with you to develop your treatment plan. The plan is unique to your type of cancer, the stage of the cancer, the risk of the cancer coming back and your general health. Your plan could include any of the following treatment options:   

  • radiation therapy - treatment that uses high-energy radiation (X-rays) to shrink or destroy the cancer cells

  • radiofrequency ablation (uses of heat to destroy cancer cells) 

  • chemotherapy - medicine given through an IV (intravenous) line to destroy cancer cells throughout your whole body.

  • immunotherapy 

  • targeted therapy - treatment that uses medicines designed to target specific features of cancer cells and stop them from growing and spreading

  • multimodal therapies (a combination of therapies) may be recommended 

  • surgery - to remove the entire kidney and surrounding tissue (radical nephrectomy), remove the kidney with a laparoscope (laparoscopic radical nephrectomy) or removal of only the cancerous portion of the kidney with a margin of healthy tissue around it (partial nephrectomy).

Related links

Source: Allina Health Cancer Institute
Reviewed by: Christian Squillante, MD

First published: 6/6/2019
Last reviewed: 11/17/2021