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Understanding Kidney Cancer

What Are the Treatments for Kidney Cancer? continued...

If surgery can't remove your kidney cancer, your doctor may suggest another option to help destroy the tumor.

  • Cryotherapy uses extreme cold to kill the tumor.
  • Radiofrequency ablation uses high-energy radio waves to "cook" the tumor.
  • Arterial embolization involves inserting material into an artery that leads to the kidney. This blocks blood flow to the tumor. This procedure may be done to help shrink the tumor before surgery.

Biologic therapy for kidney cancer

This therapy uses your immune system to fight cancer by boosting, directing, or restoring your body's natural defenses. Substances for biologic therapy are made by your body or in a lab. Examples of biologic therapy for metastatic kidney cancer include interferon alpha or interleukin-2.

Targeted therapy for kidney cancer

This therapy uses drugs or other substances to find and target cancer cells with less toxicity to normal cells. One type of targeted therapy is anti-angiogenic agents. These keep blood vessels from feeding a tumor, causing it to shrink or stop growing. Another type of targeted agent is known as multikinase inhibitors or tyrosine kinase inhibitors. These are oral drugs that block an enzyme pathway which allows cancer cells to grow. A third type of targeted therapy is known as m-TOR inhibitors. There are two of these drugs available, one oral and one by IV. They block a pathway which allows blood vessels to help tumor cells grow. Each of these drugs has a unique place in the management of advanced kidney cancer.

Radiation therapy for kidney cancer

Often used to help with symptoms of kidney cancer or in patients who cannot have surgery, this treatment uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or halt their growth. External radiation therapy sends radiation to the cancer from a machine outside the body.

Chemotherapy for kidney cancer

This therapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from multiplying. Less effective for kidney cancer than for other types of cancer, chemotherapy is mostly used for a certain type of kidney cancer in which there spindle cells (sarcomatoid variant).

 

How Can I Prevent Kidney Cancer?

Because doctors don't know the causes of kidney cancer, it is not clear how to prevent the disease. However, certain factors are linked to kidney cancer, so you can take certain steps to lower your risk -- quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, manage your blood pressure, and avoid being exposed to harmful chemicals.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Sujana Movva, MD on October 12, 2012

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