Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer – also known as renal cancer – develops in the kidneys, the pair of organs that filter waste products, salt, and excess water from the blood, which enters the kidneys from the renal arteries.

Over 60,000 new cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, making it one of the 10 most prevalent types of cancer in both men and women. Treatments have improved in recent years, resulting in better outcomes for patients.

Experienced Clinicians, Exceptional Outcomes

The Kidney Cancer Program at UT Southwestern Medical Center delivers advanced, evidence-based care to people suffering from kidney cancer. Our dedicated program is one of only several of its kind in the nation.

From diagnosis to treatment to follow-up care, UT Southwestern’s multidisciplinary team of specialized kidney cancer doctors delivers exceptional and compassionate patient care.

UT Southwestern’s five-year survival rates are superior to national benchmarks. Analyses of patient survival rates by the Office of Health Systems Affairs show superior survival rates compared to national benchmarks across all kidney cancer stages. The differences were statistically significant for three out of the four stages, including stage IV. For stage IV patients, 5-year survival rates were almost triple national benchmarks: 33.3 percent vs. 11.2 percent. The results could possibly be even better since UTSW attracts the most complicated patient cases in the area. These results are comparable to those reported by other premier clinical institutions.

Higher survival rates at UTSW compared to National Benchmark

stage 1
Stage I
stage 2
Stage II
stage 3
Stage III
stage 4
Stage IV

UT Southwestern

National Benchmark

Five-year survival probability of UTSW patients with renal cancer (n=1,650) by stage at diagnosis compared to SEER national benchmark (n=60,445) during the period 2010-2016. (Analysis from UTSW Quality Improvement Office compared to national data from NCI.) 

In addition, our urological surgeons have the highest volumes of both robotic and traditional “open” kidney surgeries in the region, as well as the most experience with kidney tumor ablation.

The Kidney Cancer Program at UT Southwestern, along with several other premier renal cancer programs in the country, are part of the International Metastatic Kidney Cancer Database Consortium (IMDC). The IMDC has set the global standard of reference and redefined expected outcomes for patients with metastatic kidney cancer.

Satisfied Patients

Our patients say we’re doing a great job, according to a 2016 patient satisfaction survey. We asked them to rate us on a scale from 1-5 in these five categories, and the results of more than 250 surveys were:

Friendliness |
Explanation |
Concern & understanding |
Confidence in the doctor |
Likelihood of recommending |
Overall satisfaction |

Access to New Drugs and Clinical Trials

At the KCP, patients have access to the latest experimental treatment approaches. This includes drugs and treatment approaches developed at UT Southwestern. Clinical trials are carefully vetted by an expert committee for their potential success and only meritorious trials with a high likelihood of helping patients are opened.

UT Southwestern conducts a wide range of clinical trials of the most promising new protocols aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of kidney cancer.

Our investigators are focusing heavily on translating UT Southwestern's Nobel Prize-winning immunology research into new therapies for renal cancer.

Comprehensive Care

Caring for cancer patients today demands expertise in multiple disciplines. In the Kidney Cancer Program expertise across the specialties of urology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, interventional radiology, and neurosurgery is brought to bear on our patients. Our national leadership in these areas and technological innovation offers the latest opportunities to our patients.

The UT Southwestern Health System provides comprehensive care solutions for all patient medical needs spanning the spectrum of medical and surgical areas. It is a one-stop-shop for health care, and physicians work together through a shared electronic medical record that keeps each other abreast of patient’s health developments.

Compassionate Care

We believe that tending to patients is more than administering a treatment. We try to understand our patients' preferences and work with them to achieve their goals. We strive to thoroughly educate patients about their condition and, when available, provide them with treatment options so they can make informed choices.

To be someone’s doctor is a privilege. A cancer diagnosis is surrounded by questions, fears, concerns about the future, unrealized plans … We are here to restore health to our patients and fight with them alongside their family and friends. When medicine falls short, we seek for answers in research.

The KCP Community

The KCP is more than just a destination for kidney cancer treatment. It is a community of patients, physicians, researchers, and volunteers alike. We want everyone to feel that they belong in our program. Once a year we all get together. As for our patient advocates, we believe that everyone can contribute. So, let us hear from you!

Patient and Family Services

We offer kidney cancer patients and their families a range of support services – from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. We treat not only the patient, but caregivers and family members as well. One of our goals is to help patients and their families during treatment and through what can be a very confusing time in their lives.

We have specialists in cancer psychology, oncology nutrition, social work, transitional care coordination, spiritual support, and integrative therapy.

In addition, our patient advocates help reassure patients and assist them in their journey, oftentimes by sharing with patients their personal experience.

When appropriate, patients can meet with our clinical geneticists, who can help determine if there is a familial risk for kidney cancer that could affect relatives.

Schedule an Appointment

To schedule a visit with a kidney cancer specialist at UT Southwestern’s facilities in Dallas or to learn more about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.