Alternate Therapies for Kidney Cancer

Your Integrated Care Team may recommend one or more alternate therapies for your kidney cancer if you are not a good candidate for traditional treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

In some cases, alternate therapies may be recommended as salvage therapies for patients whose cancer has returned.

Radiofrequency Ablation

In this high-tech, progressive procedure, your interventional radiologist, using ultrasound and CT-scan equipment, will guide a small needle through your skin into your tumor.

Bipolar energy (similar to microwaves) is released through the probe into the tumor, causing the tumor cells to die. Your tumor is essentially cauterized. The tumor remains as a mass or scar of dead tissue.

RFA is generally performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthetic.


Cryotherapy is a form of freezing your tumor to kill it.

In this procedure, using laparoscopy, your physician will insert a needle, guided by CT, into your tumor. Your physician will then direct the inert gases argon and helium into your tumor through the needle to kill all kidney cancer cells.

Cryotherapy is used in some cases as a salvage therapy for patients whose cancer has returned.

This treatment option is generally completed on the same day with little to no recovery or pain.

Arterial Embolization

This treatment is generally performed to shrink the tumor for patients who can’t have surgery or used before surgery to reduce bleeding during surgery. It prevents your artery from supplying your kidney with blood.

Your interventional radiologist will insert a narrow tube (catheter) into the artery in your leg. He or she will then inject a substance into your artery that blocks the flow of blood into your kidney. This blockage deprives the tumor of oxygen and other substances so it will no longer grow.

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