Kidney Cancer

What is Kidney Cancer?

Kidney cancer is a disease in which cancer cells grow in the kidneys. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs. They are located just above the waist, on each side of the spine. Their main function is to filter the blood and produce urine.

kidney cancer treatment with laparoscopic robotic surgery

Kidney cancer begins in the kidneys — two large, bean-shaped organs—one located to the left, and the other to the right of the backbone. Kidney cancer includes: clear cell renal cell carcinoma, papillary renal cell carcinoma, sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma, transitional cell carcinoma of the renal pelvis and Wilms tumor, which is more common in children. Men between the ages of 50 and 70 have a slightly higher risk of developing kidney cancer. Three to five percent of all adult cancers in the world arise from the kidney.

Diagnosis of kidney cancer

The survival rate for patients is good if kidney cancer is caught early. Dr. Mario Delgadillo will meet with you to discuss concerns and to conduct a thorough evaluation. Diagnostic tests and procedures may include:

  • Medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Kidney imaging tests such as ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Biopsy to remove suspicious cells and view them under a microscope for cancer.

Different stages of kidney cancer

Dr. Mario Delgadillo may order additional tests to determine the size of the cancer and whether cancer cells have spread within the body. This is called staging. Tests may include additional CT-scans or other imaging tests. Kidney cancer stages include:

  • Stage I. Tumor is confined to the kidney and is up to 2 3/4 inches (7 centimeters) in diameter.
  • Stage II. Tumor is confined to the kidney but is larger than a stage I tumor.
  • Stage III. Tumor extends beyond the kidney into surrounding tissue, major veins, nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV. Cancer has spread outside the kidney, to one or more lymph nodes, or other organs such as the bowel, pancreas, or lungs.

Robotic Radical Nephrectomy for Kidney Cancer

Radical nephrectomy is the surgical removal of an entire kidney, and often the surrounding fat, adrenal gland and lymph nodes. Typically performed as a treatment for cancer of the kidney.

Like any surgery, robot-assisted radical nephrectomy (RARN) takes place in an operating room that has been specially prepared for the procedure. The striking difference when you look into an operating room where an RARN is taking place is that Dr. Mario Delgadillo is not at the operating table. Instead, he sits at a high-tech station nearby, looking through a special viewer that displays a high-definition, 3-dimensional, magnified picture from the camera arm of the robotic device. His hands and feet operate controls that function somewhat like joy-sticks, only much more sensitive and complicated. These controls translate the surgeon’s movements to the robotic device and allow it to make the intricate, precise movements needed for this complex surgery.

Advantages of robot-assisted surgery

  • Smaller incisions heal faster and with less pain, reducing the length of hospital stay and amount of narcotic pain medication used during recovery as compared to open surgery
  • Studies report a smaller amount of bleeding during surgery as compared to open surgery, which decreases the risk of needing a blood transfusion
  • Three-dimensional viewing and 10x magnification can make surgical technique more precise over standard laparoscopy
  • The ability of the robotic instruments to rotate within the abdomen may allow quicker repair of the remaining kidney, which may allow it to function better.


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