Questions for Patients and Doctors

Kidney Cancer & Treatment

The kidneys are two small, fist-sized organs located behind the abdomen on each side of the spine. Their function is to produce urine, which is then stored in the bladder until it is emptied. By producing urine, kidneys remove toxic by-products and excess fluids from the body. This process helps to maintain a critical balance of salt, potassium and acid.

Each year, 54,000 Americans are diagnosed with kidney cancer and more than 13,000 die from this disease.1 Overall, kidney cancer is slightly more common in men and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 50 and 70 years. The most common kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma. Fortunately, with early diagnosis and treatment, kidney cancer can be cured. If found early, the survival rate ranges from 79 to 100 percent.2

Kidney Cancer & Treatment


Kidney cancer is relatively resistant to noninvasive treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.3 As a result, the gold standard treatment for localized kidney cancer is surgery. 3 Kidney surgery is traditionally performed using an open approach, which requires a large abdominal incision. Another approach, conventional laparoscopy, is less invasive but limits the doctor's precision, visualization and control compared to open surgery. da Vinci Surgery for kidney cancer uses the best techniques of open surgery and applies them to a robotic-assisted, minimally invasive approach.

Kidney Incision Comparison regular surgery vs. da Vinci surgery

The precision, vision and control of the da Vinci Surgical System allows your surgeon to provide a precise, minimally invasive treatment for kidney cancer. It may also provide your surgeon the means to preserve your kidney by removing the tumor and not the entire kidney. Preserving your kidney can help prevent future kidney disease and even dialysis. *In certain cases, your doctor may need to remove the entire kidney. If so, he/she will enlarge one incision for removal.

Learn More

Click to learn more about da Vinci Nephrectomy utilizing the da Vinci Surgical System.

  1. "Cancer Facts & Figures 2008," American Cancer Society,
  2. "Kidney Cancer," American Urological Association Foundation,
  3. Lane BR, Novick AC. Nephron-sparing surgery. BJU Int. 2007 May;99(5Pt B):1245-50.

While clinical studies support the effectiveness of the da Vinci System when used in minimally invasive surgery, individual results may vary. Surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.

For additional information on minimally invasive surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System visit

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