Health Topics

Man and Machine

Combining Physician Expertise with Robotic-Assisted Precision to Treat Kidney Cancer
By DuPage Medical Group Urology

Kidney cancer is among the top ten most prevalent cancers in both men and women in the United States. There are various forms of kidney cancers; however renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common, accounting for about nine out of every ten cases. The American Cancer Society estimates 63,340 new cases of kidney cancer will be diagnosed in 2018. Men are nearly twice as likely to develop kidney cancer as women and the majority of individuals diagnosed will be ages 64 and older.

Kidney cancer is caused by a number of factors including:

  • Family history and inherited gene mutations
  • Changes in an individual’s DNA over time due to exposure to certain chemicals or tobacco smoke
  • Obesity and high blood pressure

 In some cases, such as with inherited conditions, kidney cancer may be unavoidable. In other instances, you may be able to take precautions in order to reduce your overall risk which includes:

  • Avoiding cigarettes; if you are a smoker, quitting may help lower your risk
  • Keeping your weight and blood pressure under control
  • When possible, limit your exposure to harmful chemicals that may cause cancer including cadmium which is a type of metal, some herbicides and solvents

 Kidney cancer is often difficult to detect in its early stages because tumors may form without causing any pain or other symptoms. Also, because of their location, smaller kidney tumors can be difficult to detect during a physical exam. As tumors grow larger, individuals may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain or a lump on the side or in the lower back
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite or unintentional or unexplained weight loss
  • Persistent fever not caused by an infection
  • Anemia

 Routine urine tests may pick up trace amounts of blood that may indicate that additional follow up or testing may be needed. Imaging including CT and MRI scans may identify tumors however, they can’t differentiate between benign and cancerous growths. Your provider can determine if a tumor or growth is cancerous utilizing additional testing. If a cancerous growth is identified, there are several ways to treat kidney cancer depending on the type and its stage.

 Your cancer care team will work with you and carefully consider all options to develop the best treatment plan for you. Local treatment therapies, including surgery, are commonly used to treat the tumor because they have minimal impact on the rest of the body. If your doctor recommends surgery, you may be a candidate for a minimally invasive, robotic-assisted procedure- da Vinci Surgery. da Vinci surgery combines the best practices used in traditional, open surgery and the benefit of a robotic-assisted, minimally invasive procedure.

The advanced technology provided allows DMG Urologists to perform a more precise operation and in many cases, can provide several other health benefits to patients including:

  • Significantly less pain and post-surgical scarring
  • Fewer transfusions and blood loss
  • Reduced risk of infection
  • Shorter hospital stay and overall recovery time
  • Increased chances of kidney preservation and better clinical outcomes in many cases


To date, DMG urologists have performed over 400 robotic-assisted kidney procedures since the program launched in 2015. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with kidney cancer, or to find out if you are a candidate for robotic-assisted kidney surgery, schedule an appointment by calling 630-790-1221 or visit us online at

Topics and Subtopics: Cancer

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