There are several different kidney cancer treatment options that a person might be offered if they are diagnosed with this disease. Here is some more information about two of the most common procedures used to treat this type of cancer.
1. A partial or radical nephrectomy
Kidney cancer causes tumours to grow on a person's kidneys. These tumours will often continue to grow in size until the malignant cells from which they are made inflict severe damage on the kidneys and then metastasise to other organs and tissues. As such, medical professionals will often advise patients who have kidney cancer to undergo either a partial or radical nephrectomy; the former involves removing a piece of the kidney, whilst the latter involves removing the entire organ as well as some of the adjacent tissues.
A partial nephrectomy is generally preferable to a radical one, as the part of the kidney that has not been removed will usually remain functional. A radical nephrectomy is often only used in cases of advanced cancer, where the tumours have covered the entire organ, as when the whole kidney is removed, the person will then only be left with one other functioning kidney.
This could be problematic if they ever start to experience health problems that cause that remaining organ to fail, as they would then be left with no kidneys, which could result in them requiring dialysis (to excrete the waste products from their body) and a transplant.
2. An arterial embolism
An arterial embolism is the name of a procedure which involves blocking up the artery in a kidney that delivers blood to the tumour on that kidney. Because a tumour is comprised of living cells, each of which needs the nutrients and oxygen which are in a person's blood in order to survive, this reduction in blood supply can stop a tumour from growing in size; in some cases, may even cause it to become much smaller.
This procedure is sometimes used in instances where a person is in such poor health that undergoing surgery could be fatal, or in cases where a person only has one kidney and does not, therefore, want to remove some or all of it. This procedure begins with a catheter being inserted into the kidney's artery. A number of tiny particles are then injected up into this catheter. These particles then end up inside the artery, where they act as a physical obstruction that stops blood from getting through this tubing.