Kidney Cancer Treatment

This information is useful for children and adults
A multi-generational family is walking in the woods together.
Why Yale Medicine?
  • Experts in hereditary kidney cancer and genetic assessment
  • One of the region's most comprehensive urology departments
  • Caring for all urologic conditions with the most current technologies and techniques

When physicians at outside hospitals encounter complex or challenging cases of kidney cancer, they often refer their patients to Yale Medicine for expert opinion. While the majority of kidney cancers are renal cell carcinoma (RCC), scientific advances have led to an increasingly complex understanding of tumor types which can be important for personalized treatment. 

"Our management of kidney cancer has changed dramatically," says Joseph Brito, MD, a Yale Medicine urologist and assistant professor of urology at Yale School of Medicine. “With the increasing use of imaging techniques such as CT scan, we are able to diagnose kidney tumors at very early stages, which allows us to treat the tumor and save the healthy portion of the kidney.” Treatment can range from active surveillance to surgery, depending on the size and type of tumor identified.

At Yale Medicine, patients have full access to leading physicians and world-class resources at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven. Our doctors are also at the forefront of kidney cancer treatment and research, including novel immunotherapy approaches and the genetic characterization of kidney cancers.

In addition, the Yale School of Medicine's Hereditary Kidney Cancer and Genetic Assessment Program investigates potential genetic causes of kidney cancer in young patients, those with a family history, and individuals with multiple tumors. This approach allows for a deeper dive into the family history to help family members determine if they carry a risk for the same type of cancer.

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that are responsible for filtering waste from the body. They also stimulate the production of the body’s red blood cells and regulate blood pressure.

Kidney cancer occurs when malignant cells grow within one or both of the kidneys. The most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma (RCC), which occurs when cancer cells develop in the small tubes that run through the kidneys.

RCC makes up about 90 percent of kidney cancer cases.

Clinical Trials

New treatments for many conditions are tested in clinical trials, which ultimately bring lifesaving new drugs and devices to the patients who need them most. By participating in a clinical trial, you may get access to the most advanced treatments for your condition, and help determine their benefits for future patients.