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Kidney (Renal) Cancer

Easy Read Information

This pages gives you information about how we treat Kidney or Renal Cancer at our unit in Broadgreen Hospital. There is information about the support and different options for treatment.

Who we are

We are the regional centre for kidney cancer in North Merseyside. We provide quick diagnosis and expert treatment using the latest techniques.

What we do

Expert treatment

Specialists from different medical areas meet weekly. This is called a multi-disciplinary team meeting (MDT) and is central to the way we work. The MDT advise, support and create treatment plans that are personalised for every patient.

Access to latest treatments

The clinical trials programme makes new treatments available to patients – often giving them a better outcome. We aim to have a trial option open to patients at each step of the treatment path.

Specialist surgery

As the regional centre for kidney cancer, we offer complex surgical procedures – like Nephon-Sparing surgery – that are not available at other hospitals and surgery using a high-tech daVinci robot, the only one in Merseyside and Cheshire and one of very few across England. The robot can provide better results and experience for patients who are suitable for this treatment.

The latest facilities

We have a state-of-the-art ‘barn’ theatre at Broadgreen Hospital, which uses clean air technology to prevent infections.

Research-driven care

As a university hospital, we lead research into kidney cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention. We regularly publish research papers that help in the fight against cancer.

Treatment starts as soon as possible after the cancer has been discovered. A specialist nurse will stay with you every step of your treatment journey. The nurse is your key-worker and is available to answer any questions you or your family may have.

Being referred to us

Your doctor (GP) will send you to hospital for further investigation if you have kidney cancer symptoms like:

  • Blood in the urine
  • A lump in the kidneys
  • Other physical signs like tiredness, loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • We will see you for a clinic appointment within two weeks of receiving the GP’s referral.
  • Sometimes patients are referred to us when potential kidney cancer has been found by accident during a scan for something else.

What happens when you see us


You’ll be assigned a specialist nurse who will be with you throughout your treatment journey, from your first appointment to aftercare. The nurse is your key-worker and will help you with any problems or questions you may have.

We use three investigations to diagnose kidney cancer

  1. Ultrasound scan: this uses sound waves to create an image of an organ in the body. It can detect changes in the kidney shape which may indicate the development of a cancerous tumour.
  2. CT scan: the CT scanner takes x-ray pictures of inside your body. A computer then puts them together to create a 3D image. You’ll be given a special dye to drink to make the results of the CT scan clearer.
  3. Image-guided biopsy: this minor surgical procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic. The surgeon uses an ultrasound or CT scan to guide a needle into your kidney. A sample of tissue is removed so that it can be studied under a microscope to check for cancer. This is the only way to 100% confirm the presence of cancer.

What happens next

Test results

It may take seven to ten days for the biopsy results to come through. If the biopsy confirms cancer, the multi-disciplinary team meets to discuss your treatment options.

Planning your treatment

Your test results are discussed by the multi-disciplinary team (MDT). This is a team of doctors and health professionals who specialise in different aspects of treating kidney cancer.

After surgery

You won't need any further treatment if all the cancer has been removed. However, if cancer cells have been left behind you may have:

Immunotherapy treatment: this treatment uses substances that occur naturally in the body. It works by encouraging the immune system to attack cancer cells.

Radiotherapy: this uses the x-ray radiation to heat up and kill cancer cells. It cannot usually cure kidney cancer, but it can slow its spread, and help to reduce the symptoms of pain.

Palliative care

This is the care of patients with non-curable cancer. Palliative care looks at controlling cancer symptoms and extending and improving quality of life. Palliative treatments include: removing the cancer spread and palliative nephrectomy.

More information


Your treatment depends on many factors. One of the most important is how far the cancer has spread in your body. Kidney cancer can be in four different stages:

  • Stage 1: the cancer is smaller than 7cm in diameter; it is limited to the kidney.
  • Stage 2: the cancer is larger than 7cm in diameter but is limited to the kidney.
  • Stage 3: cancer has spread outside the kidney e.g. to the adrenal gland, nearby blood vessels, a lymph node, or to the fat that surrounds the kidney.
  • Stage 4: cancer has spread to two or more lymph nodes, or it has spread to other organs.

Kidney cancer treatment types

  1. Removal of part of the kidney (partial nephrectomy/nephron-sparing surgery): the cancer and some of the kidney surrounding it is removed. This procedure leaves you with some working kidney. You will be unconscious with general anaesthetic for this procedure.
  2. Removal of the kidney (radical nephrectomy): this procedure involves removal of the kidney, the adrenal gland and the surrounding fat and lymph nodes for suspected cancer. You will be given general anaesthetic. The surgery is fairly major, but if your cancer has not spread, then it is all the treatment you’ll need.
  3. Keyhole surgery (laparoscopic surgery): this operation does not need a major incision (cut). The surgeon uses a camera to see inside the body and perform the surgery to remove the kidney. It is possible for an experienced surgeon to remove a whole kidney or part of a kidney using laparoscopic surgery.

The team

Members of the MDT include:

  • A urologist: a surgeon who specialises in treating kidney cancer
  • A clinical oncologist: a specialist in the non-surgical treatment of cancer using techniques such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy
  • A pathologist: a specialist in diseased tissue
  • A psychologist: a specialist of the mind and the way the mind works
  • A clinical nurse specialist: a kidney cancer specialist. The nurse acts as your key-worker and speaks to the MDT on your behalf.
  • The MDT gives advice on treatment options that would benefit you the most. Of course, you have the final decision about the type of treatment you receive.

How to contact us

You can contact the Cancer Team on 0151 706 2000

Related links


Clinical Trials

You may be asked to take part in a clinical trial. Clinical trials help us learn more about the best way to treat specific conditions. To find out more visit the Clinical Research Unit website here