Kidney cancer affects around 58,000 people in the United States each year, and close to 13,000 die from the disease. It is the eighth most common cancer in men and the tenth most common in women. Smoking is a major risk factor, but family history may also play an important role especially for those with Von Hippel Lindau disease.
Surgery remains the main treatment for kidney cancer. Depending on the stage of the tumor, several different surgical approaches can be applied to treat the cancer. For example, for those tumors which are less than 5cm or in patients with only a single kidney, the physicians at KU often recommend a partial nephrectomy. This operation, which requires significant skill, focuses on preserving as much normal kidney as possible while removing the cancerous tumor. The Department of Urology has the necessary experience and expertise to be able to offer this procedure even for the most difficult tumors. Dr. David Duchene and Dr. Moben Mirza use the DaVinci surgical platform to perform partial nephrectomy in a majority of patients. In addition to our physicians performing very complicated robotic/laparoscopic partial nephrectomy, Dr Holzbeierlein and Mirza also perform complex open cases that involve tumor in the main viens (IVC). Our urologic oncology surgeons are uniquely positioned with the experience and expertise to successfully remove these tumors using a multidisciplinary approach along with our vascular and cardiothoracic surgeons.
We also offer cryoablation and radiofrequency ablation as alternative renal-sparing surgery. For those tumors which are larger, radical nephrectomy or removal of the entire kidney may be necessary. In these instances, we offer the latest techniques of treatment including laparoscopic and robotic nephrectomy.
For those patients whose cancer has spread beyond the kidney, our comprehensive approach utilizes a multidisciplinary team including experts who have vast experiences in treating advanced kidney cancer with immunotherapy, medical therapy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Dr. Peter Vanveldhuizen is a medical oncologist who is a national expert and has one of the nation’s largest experiences in treating advanced kidney cancer with IL-2, an immunotherapy. Working closely with the urologic oncologists at KU, Dr. Vanveldhuizen provides the latest and most advanced treatment of kidney cancer including a number of clinical trials for those who have failed traditional treatment.