Kidney cancer service

The newly created specialist centre for kidney cancer at the Royal Free Hospital has been set up to lead and coordinate kidney cancer treatment across north central London, north east London and west Essex.

Royal Free London kidney cancer patients will benefit from: 

  • dedicated and highly specialised services 
  • a coordinated approach – from diagnosis and kidney cancer treatment through to aftercare
  • support from a team of two dedicated specialist nurses who will be with you every step of the way

Also available is support with transport, parking and accommodation arrangements, to make sure your journey to the Royal Free Hospital is smooth and your time here is as comfortable as possible.

Find out more about the kidney cancer centre.

What is kidney cancer? 

Around 9,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with kidney cancer every year, more men than women. This number is slowly increasing, possibly because other scans are detecting tumours that would otherwise have been unrecognised.

90% of kidney cancers are renal cell cancers – tumours in the small tubes within the kidney substance. Transitional cell cancers start in the renal pelvis lining (the part of the kidney that collects the urine and transports it towards the bladder). 

Less common kidney cancer includes papillary and collecting duct renal cancer.

What does kidney cancer surgery involve?

Kidney surgery is the most common kidney cancer treatment. Kidney surgery can be used to treat early cancer of the kidney as well as the advanced stages of the disease. Full kidney removal is known as nephrectomy. Depending on the severity of the kidney cancer, a surgeon may only remove part of the kidney during surgery. This is called partial nephrectomy. 

Cancer of the kidney: what happens after my surgery?

Following your kidney surgery, you will be invited back to the specialist kidney cancer clinic at the Royal Free Hospital to have a check-up. If the renal surgeon is happy with your recovery, he or she will make arrangements for you to have an appointment at your local hospital and any future appointments will take place there.

What other kidney cancer treatment is available at the Royal Free London? 

  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) uses heat from an electric probe to kill the tumour 
  • Cryoablation is a technique that destroys tissue, in this case through freezing
  • Immuno-therapy stimulates the immune system to attack the cancer cells
  • Biological therapies drugs made from natural substances found in the body which are used to kill cells or stop them from growing
  • The results of past clinical trials help doctors give advice on your treatment

Read about our kidney cancer centre.