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Oganes E. Dilanyan
Urologist, MD, PhD

Kidney Cancer

Reading time: 4 min.
In this article

Kidney cancer – is a benign tumour affecting both men and women. Often simply removing the kidney can cure the patient. In this article I will talk about the origins of kidney tumour, prognosis, cases when the tumour can be removed while preserving the kidney and other surgery options for treating kidney tumours.

Diagnosis: kidney cancer

Specific features: uncertainty. As any other cancerous condition, the diagnosis of “kidney cancer” sounds frightening. But even worse, the patient that has just been stunned by this diagnosis absolutely does not know what to do. To have surgery? But which one? Should just the tumour be removed or the whole kidney? Should the 4th stage be operated on? If not, then what is the prognosis? I wrote this article first of all in order to provide the answer to this question: What to do if you or your loved ones have been diagnosed with kidney cancer? I think that it is hugely important to be aware of the modern treatment methods of kidney cancer treatment.

Surgery options for kidney cancer


Laparoscopic removal of kidney tumour is a modern treatment procedure during which only the tumour is removed and the organ itself is preserved. We use this method if the tumour size does not exceed 6 cm. 
Laparoscopic kidney surgery is considered “the gold standard” of surgical treatment for kidney cancer even in the presence of larger tumours.   
The lack of incision helps avoid pain and aids quick recovery.
Open surgeries for kidney cancer. Sometimes it is necessary to perform open surgery to remove the tumour or the whole organ.
Find out more about kidney cancer surgery

Kidney cancer symptoms in men and women

“I had a urine test and it detected blood in the urine so I was sent for an ultrasound. They found a tumour.” “First I had blood in the urine then my back started hurting. I went to see a doctor and was diagnosed with cancer.” “My father had a CT scan to check for kidney cysts and was diagnosed with cancer”. All these are the complaints of my patients who came face to face with the terrible diagnosis of kidney cancer. And most often nothing hurts and nothing bothers them and the cancer is discovered because they had to have a check-up and an ultrasound for another reason and ended up being diagnosed with kidney cancer.

What does a person feel having just been diagnosed? This can only be fully understood by either a patient who has been through the exact same situation or…. a doctor that sees cancer patients every day. This diagnosis limits one’s life and poses a threat of long lasting pain and suffering. And treating kidney cancer is a hard battle of the patient and the doctor against the disease. It has been proven that the better the patient understands the nature of their condition the more likely it is that they will beat the disease. This is why I always draw a diagram and tell all my patients about the nature of their condition. A person needs to know what they are up against.  

“There is an illness, a patient and a doctor. He whose side the patient takes will win.”.

Kidney cancer is a malignant tumour of the kidney. The cells of kidney tumours are characterised by uncontrolled growth and ability to metastasise and spread into other remote organs. These sells destroy the healthy tissue and grow and multiply while producing toxins and poisoning and destroying the body.

The most frightening of all is the anticipation of pain and the uncertainty

How does kidney cancer develop in women?

Origins of kidney cancer

Most carcinogens, the cancer-causing substances, are carried out of the body through the urinary system. Tobacco takes the first place among them and 70% of my bladder cancer patients are smokers. Another two factors that contribute to the development of this condition are obesity and chronic hypertension. 
A malignant cell starts dividing uncontrollably and this leads to the development of a tumour.  Once it’s there the tumour starts growing and spreading beyond the boundaries of the affected organ to the bones and the lungs through the lymph and blood flow.  

Kidney cancer diagnosis

In all the conferences and similar events the same words are repeated tirelessly: tumour does not wait and time is against the patient. Effective treatment of kidney tumour in both men and women directly depends on thorough and quick diagnosis. But still, the patients still have to overcome the bureaucratic system and one or two months pass between the initial diagnosis and the operation. Often it is simply not very clear to the patient what all the tests are for.

The answer is simple: The correct treatment directly depends on properly identifying the stage of the disease. The stages of kidney cancer depend on two factors: the size of the tumour and it’s spreading to other organs.

Kideny cancer diagnostic methods


And not only for the kidneys. This is the first investigation that helps identify the tumour and also allows to assess the condition of the liver, the pancreas and other organs which is very important for both surgical and conventional treatment.

MSCT scan of the kidneys

Computer tomography enables us to access the exact size of the tumour, it’s malignancy, position, and if it has spread beyond the kidney. This is a compulsory investigation which allows to obtain the information necessary for choosing the correct type of treatment, such as whether only the tumour or the whole organ needs to be removed, how much pre-op preparation the patient is likely to require and post-operative treatment options.  

Lungs CT

This is a compulsory investigation in the presence of cancer. This method allows us to detect any metastatic growths of kidney cancer in the lungs, which if detected call for a preoperative consultation with a chemotherapy specialist and a post-operative targeted therapy for kidney cancer. The latter is a special type of chemotherapy which has been proven effective for treating this condition.

These tests play a paramount role in deciding on the best type of surgical treatment and deciding whether it would be necessary to remove the kidney or remove just the tumour while saving the kidney. The success of the treatment is often directly dependent of how quickly the test is performed. This is why we have implemented the European testing system which allows us to obtain all the results within 24 hours. 

Kidney tumour which is under 4cm in size can be removed while preserving the kidney. 

Kidney cancer treatment in men and women

I think that how well informed the patient is plays a very important role in our fight against cancer. The patient and their family and loved ones should not have any questions left that they have not received an answer to. The patient must know what type of operation they are going to have and why we chose that specific type. 
Can the patient communicate effectively with the doctor if they are speaking in different languages? I doubt it. Will they understand all the risks involved and be able to control the consequences once back at home? Not really. This is why when talking to a patient I always draw a diagram of everything I am intending to do and try and achieve complete understanding of the whole process which is involved in treating kidney cancer.   

Kidney cancer surgeries

Kidney tumour resection

This is the name of the procedure during which only the tumour gets removed. If the tumour is under 4 cm in size it is possible to preserve the kidney and only remove the tumour. Numerous studies have shown that in the presence of a small size tumour this surgery is as radical as the removal of the whole kidney. This procedure is also carried out when the only kidney is affected by cancer and in some other cases when removing the whole organ is not feasible.

Radical nephrectomy

This procedure involves the removal of the kidney. In the presence of large tumour this surgery is the “gold standard” of kidney cancer treatment in men and women. In the 3rd and 4rth stage of the disease and when the cancer has metastasised we also use this procedure. This allows us to perform  so-called targeted therapy following the operation and improve the patient’s chances of getting better.

Laparoscopic surgery for kidney cancer

When we decide to operate we first have to decide what type of surgery to use. If laparoscopic surgery is possible we offer it first as the lack of an incision allows the patient to recover from kidney cancer surgery quicker and start targeted therapy without delay. Laparoscopic surgery is used in most cases.

Information for foreign patients:

If you or your loved one require diagnosis and treatment of kidney cancer please contact us. We will arrange admission to hospital on the day of your arrival and will carry out all necessary tests as quickly as possible.

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