Urologic surgeon Zachary Smith, MD, discusses the individualized approach to treatments for different types of kidney cancer, such as renal cell carcinoma. 

Washington University urologists at Barnes-Jewish Hospital are international leaders in the treatment of kidney cancer, lesions and masses. They performed the world’s first laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, removal of a kidney in 1990. More recently, a Washington University urologic surgeon developed a robotic technique for partial removal of the kidney that has been adopted around the world.

Kidney cancer is more common in older people, occurring most often in those who are 55 and older. Most kidney cancers are renal cell carcinomas, which typically grow as a single tumor within a kidney, although sometimes there are two or more tumors in one kidney or tumors in both kidneys. According to the American Cancer Society, he rate of kidney cancer has been slowly increasing since the 1970s, but death rates have decreased slightly since the late 1990s.*

Washington University urologists offer the option of laparoscopic surgery – including robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery – to remove a kidney tumor while preserving the majority of the kidney. By sparing the kidney, they can provide patients with better kidney function and overall health. Both laparoscopic surgery and robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery typically result in less pain and discomfort and allow for a quicker recovery.

*American Cancer Society

More information on kidney cancer treatment at Siteman Cancer Center.