Treating Kidney Cancer with Radiation Therapy

By Garth W. Tormoen, M.D., Ph.D., Radiation Oncologist at Reno CyberKnife

Kidney tumors, also called renal tumors, are growths in the kidneys that can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC), also known as renal cell cancer or renal cell adenocarcinoma, is the most common type of malignant kidney tumor.  According to the American Cancer Society, about 9 out of 10 kidney cancers are renal cell carcinomas.

For patients who refuse surgery or have medically inoperable kidney tumors, radiation may be a treatment option.  When radiation therapy is used to treat kidney cancer, it is usually external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), a non-invasive technique which focuses radiation on the cancer from a source outside the body.

At Reno CyberKnife, we use EBRT to treat kidney tumors with the CyberKnife Radiosurgery System®.  CyberKnife painlessly delivers precise beams of radiation to kidney tumors, without requiring incisions, hospitalization, or a long recovery time.

Due to the kidney’s location in the body, near the bowel and lungs, there is constant movement from regular bodily functions.  Most other radiation therapy solutions require the patient to wear uncomfortable braces and devices to help stabilize the body as much as possible during treatment.  Even still, there is the possibility that the tumor does not receive as much of the radiation as it should, or with the precision needed to minimize the risk to surrounding organs and tissues.

CyberKnife has evolved from conventional radiation therapy with its advanced technology and robotic design.  With enhanced image guidance and tumor-tracking software, CyberKnife can target the exact location of the kidney tumor and adjust to its movements during treatment.  CyberKnife’s ability to track the kidney tumor minimizes radiation exposure to other organs, tissues, and nerves, and it ensures that the kidney tumor receives high doses of radiation with sub-millimeter accuracy.  The patient is also more comfortable during treatment with CyberKnife since no stabilization hardware is required.

To learn more about how Reno CyberKnife treats kidney tumors with CyberKnife technology, or to make an appointment, please contact our center today.