Kidney Cancer and Robotic Cancer Treatment

kidney-concept250x250The American Cancer Society estimates about 62,700 new cases of kidney cancer (39,650 in men and 23,050 in women) will occur in in the United States this year.

When people think about the kidneys it’s likely they picture a pair of bean-shaped organs, one on the left and the other just to the right of the backbone. It’s not likely that people think about connections to the heart or even the toes through a large vein called the vena cava. The kidneys are apart of a complex system that extends into the main blood vessels and the heart.

Kidney cancer can begin in either the outer part of the kidney or its inner lining. The outer cortex of the kidney filters the blood and concentrates the excrement into urine. Kidney cancer that occurs in the outer portion of the kidney is known as renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Kidney cancer that starts in the inner lining of the kidney, which funnels and drains urine, is known as urothelial or transitional cell carcinoma. Urothelial carcinoma is very similar in many ways to most types of bladder cancer.

Treatment of both types of kidney cancer requires either partial or whole nephrectomy, or removal of the kidney. Urothelial carcinoma treatment also involves the surgical removal of a portion of the ureter.

Kidney Cancer Symptoms and Risk Factors

Kidney cancers in the early stages usually do not cause any signs or symptoms, but patients will sometimes experience signs that should be brought to a doctor’s attention, such as:

  • Noticing blood or very dark urine
  • Flank/back pain on one side (not caused by injury)
  • A mass (lump) on the side or lower back
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss not caused by dieting
  • Fever that is not caused by an infection and doesn’t go away

Contact your doctor if you see changes like these. Recognizing your body’s warning signals can reduce your risks.

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About Viraj Master, MD

master-virajDr. Master is an Associate Professor of Urology at the Emory University School of Medicine, Associate Chair for Clinical Affairs and Quality, and Director of Clinical Research Unit.

Following his undergraduate education at Northwestern University, Dr. Master attended medical school at the University of Chicago where he received both MD and PhD degrees. He completed his urology residency and two fellowships training at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) before joining the Department of Urology at Emory University in 2005. Dr. Master is a diplomate of the American Board of Urology (2006) a Fellow of the American College of Surgery (FACS).

Dr. Master’s primary clinical interest is urologic oncology, in particular kidney cancer, adrenal tumors, testicular cancer, high-risk prostate cancer and penile cancers. Dr. Master is a renowned national expert in the surgical treatment of kidney cancer particularly a complex variety that extends into the main blood vessels and the heart. He also has a special interest in minimally invasive laparoscopic technique that removes of cancerous lymph nodes with minimal interference with the patients’ quality of life.

As the Director of Clinical Research, he is active in investigating the role of inflammation in cancers and in researching “host” (patient) interaction with the disease. In his role as Associate Chair for Clinical Affairs and Quality, he works closely with all faculty members towards a common goal of providing the highest quality of care to our patients. Emory University Hospital (EUH) ranks number one hospital (out of 187) in both Georgia and metro Atlanta (2013-2014 U.S. News & World Report), and the Department of Urology ranks as one of Emory’s top ten high-performing adult specialty areas.

The Emory Department of Urology is leading the way in the treatment of kidney cancers, treating the smallest to the most advanced tumors. Our physicians provide expertise in focally treating kidney tumors while sparing the healthy portion of the kidney. Avoiding the removal of the entire kidney lessens the chance of kidney failure and other complications after surgery. This treatment for kidney cancer, in which only the tumorous portion of the kidney is removed, is also known as a The Emory Department of Urology is leading the way in the treatment of kidney cancers, treating the smallest to the most advanced tumors. Our physicians provide expertise in focally treating kidney tumors while sparing the healthy portion of the kidney. Avoiding the removal of the entire kidney lessens the chance of kidney failure and other complications after surgery. This treatment for kidney cancer, in which only the tumorous portion of the kidney is removed, is also known as a robotic partial nephrectomy.

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