Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer, among the 10 most common cancers in Americans, affects one in 46 men and one in 82 women in their lifetime.

At Hartford HealthCare, people with kidney cancer are diagnosed and treated by a multidisciplinary team that includes oncologists from the Cancer Institute and urologists from the Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute, Connecticut’s leader in urology and kidney disease, including cancer.

Many of our urologic surgeons were instrumental in developing minimally invasive techniques currently used in surgery for kidney cancer.

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Call 855.255.6181 or request a callback for support, advice, or a second opinion.

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Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer usually doesn’t cause symptoms at first. It’s often discovered by imaging tests done for other reasons.

After it spreads, however, kidney cancer may cause one or more of these symptoms:

  • Blood in urine
  • A lump in the lower back or belly
  • Pain in the side or back

Diagnosing Kidney Cancer

If your doctor suspects you may have kidney cancer, you may be scheduled for:

  • Blood work to assess kidney function and risk
  • Diagnostic imaging tests, such as cross-sectional CT scan, MRI or ultrasound
  • Nuclear renal scan
  • Renal biopsy, in which a tissue sample is later examined by a pathologist under a microscope
  • Genetic testing

Not all patients need all of these diagnostic tests.

Treating Kidney Cancer

Surgery is the only way to cure kidney cancer, yet recent advances often allow surgeons to remove only the tumor. Patients left with more kidney function experience dramatically better overall health and well-being. 

Our pioneering surgeons were among the first in the nation to perform a laparoscopic nephrectomy – kidney removal ­– in patients with kidney cancer. They also pioneered the hand-assisted laparoscopic nephrectomy, a standard in minimally invasive nephrectomy. Our surgical leaders have taught the technique to more than 1,000 surgeons across the world – sharing Hartford HealthCare innovations for the benefit of patients everywhere.

Most of our kidney cancer patients now undergo kidney-sparing surgery called partial nephrectomy. With this procedure, only the cancerous portion of the kidney and a margin of tissue around it are removed.

Our surgeons are among the world's most experienced in performing robotic partial nephrectomies, which allow even more complex and larger tumors to be removed using a minimally-invasive approach.

Hartford HealthCare’s kidney transplant program is one of the oldest in New England and offers a history of success as an option for some patients.

A member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance, we provide innovative care close to home.

We offer the latest treatments through our ongoing membership in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Alliance, which gives you access to the latest standards of care and clinical trials.

The MSK Alliance

Support at the Cancer Institute

The Cancer Institute offers whatever you and your family need on your journey, whether it’s access to an oncology social worker, a nurse navigator to coordinate your care or the support of our Patient and Family Resource Center.

Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute