When it comes to surgery on the kidney for kidney cancer, there’s two main types of operations. In one, the entire kidney with the tumor is removed together. This is commonly done for large tumors or tumors that are very close to the business end of the kidney, where the blood vessels are flowing in and out. When it’s possible, the surgeon may recommend something called a partial nephrectomy. That simply means removing only the cancerous part of the kidney and leaving the rest of it behind. When we talk about kidney cancer, remember that the kidney cancer arises from the outer meaty portion of the kidney. Just by chance, sometimes the tumors are bulging and very close to the exterior. In other cases, again, by chance, the kidney cancer may form very close to the center or the interior of the kidney. The ones that are closer to the outside edge are more easily amenable to being removed while sparing or saving the rest of the kidney. Sometimes when they’re too close to the interior, a partial kidney removal is just not possible. Your doctor will look at the tumor features, your age, and your specific anatomy and the status of your other healthy kidney, to try to put the whole picture together and make an individual tailored decision as to whether partial kidney removal or total kidney removal is appropriate for you.