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Researchers Get Word Out About Less Severe Option For Kidney Cancer Patients

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The National Kidney Foundation is getting the word out about a less severe option for those with kidney cancer, analogous to the lumpectomy for breast cancer.

Decades behind a change in addressing breast cancer, kidney cancer may be treated by removing only the affected part of the organ.

"We've done work over the last decade showing the virtues of saving the healthy part of the kidney for the treatment of a small kidney tumor, not all of which are highly malignant. So our concern is healthy kidney function is being sacrificed unnecessarily, over-treated if you will," says Kidney surgeon Paul Russo of Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital.

Dr. Russo says the partial nephrectomy, as it's called, is more technically-challenging than the radical (remove it all) nephrectomy, and has some extra potential complications.

But he says the long-term outlook is actually better, the more kidney function a patient can keep.

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