The main treatment for all renal tumors in children is surgery to remove the tumor. For most patients, a surgery called radical nephrectomy is done.
In this surgery, the tumor and whole kidney are removed. The doctor will look at the nearby lymph nodes and the liver to see if cancer has spread. It is critical to know if the tumor is only in the kidneys.
Radical Nephrectomy for Wilms' Tumor
Wilms' tumors are very soft, and they can burst before and during surgery. If they burst, the stage of the disease can change and add to the risk of the tumor coming back.
In patients with tumors in both kidneys, neither kidney should be removed at the first surgery. To start, a biopsy of the tumor is done to help pinpoint the tumor type.
If appropriate, chemotherapy (drugs for cancer) is used. The goal is to first shrink the tumors. After chemotherapy, surgery is considered. At this point, the goal of surgery is to remove the tumor, and save as much of the kidney as possible. This plan works better for the favorable type of Wilms' tumor.
Radical Nephrectomy for RCC
RCC is also mainly treated with surgery. It is not a curable cancer, but surgery can remove the tumor(s). The cases with tumors that are only in the kidney have the best results.