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The kidneys are bean-shaped organs about the size of a bar of soap that are located in the low back area, one on each side of the spine. The kidneys filter waste and excess fluid from the blood and send this liquid and waste (urine) to the bladder through the ureters. Urine then leaves the body through the urethra.
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Kidney cancer, also called renal cancer, forms when cells in the kidney change and multiply abnormally. The cancer can interfere with the working of the kidneys. Kidney cancer may spread beyond the kidneys to other parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis. The more the cancer spreads, the harder it is to treat.
Treatment Options for Kidney Cancer
Treatment options for kidney cancer include the following:
- Surgery to remove the cancerous kidney and, in some cases, the surrounding tissue
- Radiation therapy that uses directed rays of energy to kill cancer cells
- Chemotherapy that uses strong medications to kill cancer cells
- Immunotherapy that strengthens the body’s immune system to help fight cancer
If you need surgery, Ochsner has the newest technology for kidney procedures: Firefly, used in conjunction with robotic laparoscopy. Robotic laparoscopy involves inserting a tube through a small incision and removing the tumor with a remote-controlled unit. Firefly uses infrared imaging to illuminate exactly where the kidney and its blood supply are. The kidney and arteries glow green, but the tumor does not light up, making removal of the tumor easier and more precise. Firefly eliminates the complications of older procedures: blood loss and disruption of the blood supply to the kidney. With the more precise Firefly, doctors can see and accurately control blood flow to keep the body functioning as normally as possible.