Kidney Cancer

Our internationally recognized kidney specialists offer the latest in kidney cancer treatment and care.

Find your care

We combine expertise and advanced technology to deliver the best possible outcomes. For more information, connect with a cancer care specialist at 888-662-8252.

Illustration of kidneys

Why choose UCLA Health for kidney cancer care?

The UCLA Health Kidney Cancer Program at the Institute of Urologic Oncology is one of the country’s first comprehensive kidney cancer programs. We’ve delivered state-of-the-art care for more than 30 years. At UCLA Health, you’ll find:

World leaders in molecular imaging: Our unique research programs have led to the development of advanced diagnostic and therapeutic discoveries like the positron emission tomography (PET) scan.

Expertise in challenging cases: Hospitals across the region seek expert opinions from our specialists. Those same experts collaborate daily to ensure comprehensive care for each patient at UCLA Health.

Compassionate care with a team approach: We partner with you and your family in the decision-making process. It’s important to ensure that you have all the information you need to consider your care options.

Superior care close to home: UCLA Health offers kidney cancer care in multiple locations across the greater Los Angeles region. This means you can receive high-quality care that’s convenient for you.

Our services

From diagnosis to post-cancer care, UCLA Health’s Kidney Cancer Center offers comprehensive services, including:

Kidney cancer diagnosis

Our kidney cancer teams are highly skilled in advanced imaging and testing, including:

Ultrasound: A test using high-frequency sound waves to generate images of your kidneys .

CT scan: A CT scan creates detailed images of your kidneys that are useful in diagnosing cancer.

MRI scan: A test that generates highly detailed pictures of your kidneys by using magnetic fields and radio waves.

PET/CT scan: A combined nuclear medicine test and CT scan that uses contrast dye and a radioactive material to detect cancer.

Bone scan: A test that uses a small amount of a radioactive material with imaging to detect if cancer has spread to your bones.

Renal angiogram: A test with contrast dye to examine the blood vessels in your kidneys. 

Biopsy: A procedure to remove a small piece of kidney tissue and examine it under a microscope to look for cancer.

Cancer genetics

Our Genitourinary Cancer Genetic Risk Assessment Program evaluates the potential genetic causes that increase the risk for kidney cancer. Knowing about a specific genetic risk enables doctors to more precisely tailor a treatment plan that is optimal for you. Learn more about the cancer genetics program at UCLA Health.

Kidney cancers we treat

We treat all types of kidney cancers, including:

Renal cell carcinoma: The most common form of kidney cancer. Renal cell carcinoma starts in the lining of small tubes in the kidneys. Ninety percent of all kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma.

Renal sarcoma: A rare type of kidney cancer that begins in the kidney’s connective tissues or blood vessels.

Transitional cell carcinoma: A rare and largely curable form of kidney cancer that begins in the top part of the ureter, called the renal pelvis, instead of the kidney itself.

Wilms tumor (nephroblastoma): A childhood cancer that forms in the kidneys.

Treatments we offer

UCLA Health’s Kidney Cancer Program offers leading-edge treatments based on the latest research. These treatments include:

Nonsurgical kidney cancer treatments

Some types of kidney cancer may be treated without surgery using:

Active surveillance: A wait-and-watch approach that is an option for growths that have a low potential to spread.

Radiation therapy: A high-energy beam of radiation directly targets cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. This treatment method is generally used to help control renal cancer symptoms.

Immunotherapy: Therapies that stimulate the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells. Kidney cancer is responsive to immunotherapy. Our patients often go into remission after receiving these therapies.

Targeted therapy: These oral medications stop tumors from developing new blood vessels that can help them grow. Targeted therapies typically have fewer side effects than standard chemotherapy treatments .

Tumor ablation: A process that uses extreme heat or cold to destroy a tumor. The UCLA Health Kidney Cancer Program offers cryoablation and radiofrequency ablation under minimal sedation in an outpatient setting.

Clinical trials: Studies of promising kidney cancer treatments that are not yet available to the public.

Kidney cancer surgery

Surgery is the most common treatment for kidney cancer. Your care team will consider several factors to determine which type of surgery is right for you. They will weigh whether the surgery can remove the cancer, save your kidney and preserve your kidney function. We offer:

Partial nephrectomy: A surgical procedure to remove tumors while sparing the kidney.

Radical nephrectomy: Surgery to completely remove the diseased kidney. Specialists usually choose this procedure when there are large, rapidly growing tumors in one of the kidneys.

At UCLA Health, surgeons may use traditional laparoscopy or robot-assisted technology. These techniques allow us to perform surgery with a high degree of precision.

Meet our team

Our physicians, surgeons and clinical professionals are world-renowned experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of kidney cancer. We stay on top of the latest research to ensure you receive the best care possible. Our team approach puts more expert eyes on your case, increasing your chances for better outcomes.

Contact us

Call 310-794-7700 to request an appointment with a kidney cancer specialist at UCLA Health.