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Kidney Cancer - Overview

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some basic information about this disease and the parts of the body it may affect. This is the first page of Cancer.Net’s Guide to Kidney Cancer. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen. Think of that menu as a roadmap to this full guide.

About the kidneys

The kidneys are a pair of reddish-brown, bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a small fist, that are located above the waist on either side of the spine. They are closer to the back of the body than to the front. The kidneys filter blood to remove impurities, excess minerals and salts, and extra water. Every day, the kidneys filter about 200 quarts of blood to generate two quarts of urine.

The kidneys also produce hormones that help control blood pressure, red blood cell production, and other functions. Although most people have two kidneys, each works independently, which means the body can function with less than one complete kidney. With dialysis, a mechanized filtering process, it is possible to live with no functioning kidneys.

Types of kidney cancer

Kidney cancer begins when normal cells in one or both kidneys change and grow uncontrollably, forming a mass called a tumor. A tumor can be cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor means the tumor will not spread.

There are several types of kidney cancer:

Renal cell carcinoma. Renal cell carcinoma makes up about 85% of kidney cancers. This cancer develops within the kidney's microscopic filtering systems, the lining of the tiny tubes that lead to the bladder. The treatment options for renal cell carcinoma are discussed later in this guide.

Transitional cell carcinoma. This is also called urothelial carcinoma and accounts for 10% to 15% of the kidney cancers diagnosed in adults. Transitional cell carcinoma begins in the area of the kidney where urine collects before moving to the bladder. This type of kidney cancer is similar to bladder cancer and is treated similarly as a result.

Sarcoma. Sarcoma of the kidney is rare and is treated with surgery. For some patients, it may be beneficial to combine chemotherapy with surgery, as sarcoma can grow quite large before it is discovered. It does not spread to other parts of the body as often as other types of kidney cancer.

Wilms tumor. Wilms tumor is most common in children and is treated differently than kidney cancer in adults. This type of tumor is more likely to be successfully treated with radiation therapy and chemotherapy than the other types of kidney cancer, and this has resulted in a different approach to treatment.

Types of kidney cancer cells

Knowing which type of cell makes up a kidney tumor helps doctors plan treatment. There are several types of kidney cancer cells. The most common are listed below. Pathologists have identified as many as 10 different types of these cells. Pathologists are doctors who specialize in interpreting laboratory tests and evaluating cells, tissues, and organs to diagnose disease.

  • Clear cell is the type of cell that is found in about 70% of kidney cancers. Clear cells range from slow growing (grade 1) to fast growing (grade 4). This type of kidney cancer is particularly responsive to immunotherapy and targeted therapy (see the Treatment Options section).
  • Papillary kidney cancer, which develops in 10% to 15% of patients, is divided into two different subtypes, called type 1 and type 2. They are different from the clear cell type, although papillary kidney cancer is currently treated in the same way as clear cell kidney cancer. However, many doctors recommend treatment through a clinical trial because treatment with targeted therapy is often not as successful for people with papillary kidney cancer as it is for people with clear cell kidney cancer.
  • Sarcomatoid is the type of cell that grows the fastest. It may be found with the clear cell or papillary type. It is called sarcomatoid because it looks like sarcoma under a microscope.
  • Collecting duct is a rare cancer that behaves in a similar way to transitional cell carcinoma. It is best treated with chemotherapy. Many doctors believe it is less responsive to chemotherapy than transitional cell carcinoma but more responsive than the clear cell or sarcomatoid types.
  • Chromophobe is another rare cancer that is different from other types.
  • Oncocytoma is a slow-growing type that rarely, if ever, spreads.
  • Angiomyolipoma is a benign tumor that has a unique appearance on a computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan (see the Diagnosis section) and when viewed under a microscope. It tends to be less likely to grow and spread and is best treated with surgery.

Looking for More of an Overview?

If you would like additional introductory information, explore these related items. Please note these links will take you to other sections on Cancer.Net:

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Kidney Cancer - Statistics

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people learn they have this type of cancer each year and some general survival information. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

This year, an estimated 63,920 adults (39,140 men and 24,780 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with kidney cancer and renal pelvic cancer. It is estimated that 13,860 deaths (8,900 men and 4,960 women) from this disease will occur this year. Kidney cancer is the sixth most common cancer and the tenth most common cause of cancer death for men, and it is the eighth most common cause of cancer for women.

The five-year survival rate is the percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases. Overall, the five-year survival rate of people with kidney cancer is 72%. Approximately 63% of people are diagnosed when the cancer is only located in the kidney. For this group, the five-year survival rate increases to 92%. However, survival rates are based on many factors, including the specific stage of disease. The five-year survival for renal pelvic cancer is 51%.

Cancer survival statistics should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are based on data from thousands of people with this type of cancer in the United States each year, but the actual risk for a particular individual may differ. It is not possible to tell a person how long he or she will live with kidney cancer. Because the survival statistics are measured in five-year intervals, they may not represent advances made in the treatment or diagnosis of this cancer. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2014.

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Kidney Cancer - Medical Illustrations

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find a basic drawing of the kidneys. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Kidney Anatomy

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For medical illustrations about the different stages of kidney cancer, please visit the Stages section.

To continue reading this guide, use the menu on the side of your screen to select another section.  


Kidney Cancer - Risk Factors and Prevention

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing this type of cancer. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. However, knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.

The following factors may raise a person’s risk of developing kidney cancer:

Smoking. Smoking doubles the risk of developing kidney cancer and is believed to cause about 30% of kidney cancers in men and approximately 25% in women.

Gender. Men are two to three times more likely to develop kidney cancer than women.

Race. Black people have higher rates of kidney cancer.

Age. Kidney cancer is typically found in adults and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 50 and 70.

Nutrition and weight. Research has often shown a link between kidney cancer and obesity, which is generally caused by many years of eating a high-fat diet.

High blood pressure. Men with high blood pressure, also called hypertension, may be more likely to develop kidney cancer.

Overuse of certain medications. Painkillers containing phenacetin, once popular in over-the-counter medications, have been banned in the United States since 1983 because of their link to kidney cancer. Diuretics and analgesic pain pills, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen, have also been linked to kidney cancer.

Exposure to cadmium. Some studies have shown a connection between exposure to the metallic element cadmium and kidney cancer. Working with batteries, paints, or welding materials may increase a person’s risk as well. This risk is even higher for smokers who have been exposed to cadmium.

Long-term dialysis. Patients having dialysis (see the Overview section) for a long time may develop cancerous cysts in their kidneys. These growths are usually found early and can often be removed before the cancer spreads.

Family history of kidney cancer. People who have first-degree relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, or children) with kidney cancer have an increased risk of developing the disease. This risk increases if a number of family members have been diagnosed with kidney cancer, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and cousins, and if these family members were diagnosed before the age of 50, had cancer in both kidneys, and/or had more than one tumor in the same kidney. If you are concerned kidney cancer may run in your family, it is important to get an accurate family history and share the results with your doctor. By understanding your family history, you and your doctor can take steps to reduce your risk and be proactive about your health.

Specific genetic disorders. Although kidney cancer can run in families, inherited kidney cancers are uncommon, occurring about 5% of the time. Only a few specific genes that increase the risk of developing kidney cancer have been found, and many are linked to specific genetic syndromes. Most of these conditions are associated with a specific type of kidney cancer.

Finding a specific genetic syndrome in a family can help a person and his or her doctor develop an appropriate cancer screening plan and, in some cases, help determine the best treatment options. Only genetic testing can determine whether a person has a genetic mutation. Most experts strongly recommend that people considering genetic testing first talk with a genetic counselor. A genetic counselor is an expert trained to explain the risks and benefits of genetic testing.

Genetic conditions that increase a person's risk of developing kidney cancer include:

  • Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome (VHL). People with VHL have an increased risk of developing several types of tumors. Most of these tumors are benign. However, 40% of people with this disorder develop kidney cancer, most often a specific type called clear cell kidney cancer.
  • Hereditary non-VHL clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Hereditary non-VHL clear cell renal cell carcinoma is a genetic condition that increases a person's risk of developing clear cell renal cell carcinoma (CCRCC). A family may have hereditary non-VHL CCRCC if more than one family member has been diagnosed with CCRCC.
  • Hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma (HPRCC). HPRCC is a genetic condition that increases the risk of type 1 papillary renal cell carcinoma. People who have HPRCC have an increased risk of developing more than one kidney tumor and tumors on both kidneys. HPRCC is suspected when two or more close relatives have been diagnosed with type 1 papillary renal cell carcinoma.
  • Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHD). BHD is a rare genetic condition associated with multiple noncancerous skin tumors, lung cysts, and an increased risk of noncancerous and cancerous kidney tumors, specifically a rare type called chromophobe or a slow-growing type called oncocytoma that rarely spreads. People with BHD may also develop clear cell or papillary kidney cancer.
  • Hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell carcinoma (HLRCC). HLRCC is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 papillary renal cell carcinoma and skin nodules called leiomyomata that are found mainly on the arms, legs, chest, and back. Women with HLRCC often develop uterine fibroids known as leiomyomas or, less commonly, leiomyosarcoma.
  • Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). TSC is a genetic condition associated with changes in the skin, brain, kidney, and heart. People with TSC also have an increased risk of developing kidney cancer.

Other genetic conditions may be associated with an increased risk of kidney cancer, and research to find other genetic causes of kidney cancer is ongoing.

Research also continues to look into other factors that cause kidney cancer and what people can do to lower their personal risk. Not enough is known about kidney cancer to determine exactly how to prevent it. However, there are some steps people can take to lower their risk, such as quitting smoking, lowering blood pressure, controlling body weight, and eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in fat. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about your personal risk of developing this type of cancer.

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Kidney Cancer - Symptoms and Signs

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Often, kidney cancer is found when a person has an x-ray or ultrasound (see the Diagnosis section) for another reason. In its earliest stages, kidney cancer causes no pain. Therefore, symptoms of the disease usually appear when the tumor is large and begins to affect nearby organs.

People with kidney cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with kidney cancer do not show any of these symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer.           

  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain or pressure in the side or back
  • A mass or lump in the side or back
  • Swelling of the ankles and legs
  • High blood pressure or anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Recurrent fever that is not from cold, flu, or other infection
  • For men, a rapid development of a cluster of enlarged veins, known as a varicocele, around a testicle

If you are concerned about one or more of the symptoms or signs on this list, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

Screening for kidney cancer

Routine screening tests to detect kidney cancer early are not available. Doctors may recommend that people with a high risk of the disease have imaging tests (see the Diagnosis section) to look inside the body. For people with a family history of kidney cancer, CT scans are sometimes used to search for early-stage kidney cancer. However, CT scans have not been proven to be a useful screening tool for kidney cancer for most people.

The next section helps explain what tests and scans may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Diagnosis, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.  

Kidney Cancer - Diagnosis

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find a list of the common tests, procedures, and scans that doctors can use to find out what’s wrong and identify the cause of the problem. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors use many tests to diagnose cancer and find out if it has spread to another part of the body, called metastasis. Some tests may also determine which treatments may be the most effective. For most types of cancer, a biopsy is the only way to make a definitive diagnosis of cancer. If a biopsy is not possible, the doctor may suggest other tests that will help make a diagnosis. Imaging tests may be used to find out whether the cancer has spread. This list describes options for diagnosing this type of cancer, and not all tests listed will be used for every person. Your doctor may consider these factors when choosing a diagnostic test:

  • Age and medical condition
  • Type of cancer suspected
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Previous test results

In addition to a physical examination, the following tests may be used to diagnose kidney cancer:

Blood and urine tests. A blood test to check the number of red blood cells and a urine test to find blood, bacteria, or cancer cells may be done. These tests may suggest that kidney cancer is present but cannot make a definite diagnosis.

Biopsy. A biopsy is the removal of a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope. Other tests can suggest that cancer is present, but only a biopsy can make a definite diagnosis. The sample removed during the biopsy is analyzed by a pathologist. Then the pathologist writes a pathology report that describes the laboratory test results, and it then becomes a permanent part of the person’s medical record.

The pathology report identifies the type of cell involved in the kidney cancer (see the Overview for a list), which is important in planning treatment. Doctors must have a pathology report before they use systemic therapy to treat kidney cancer. Systemic therapy involves using treatment(s) that affect the entire body.

The type of biopsy performed depends on the location of the cancer. A separate biopsy may not be needed if the cancer is found on a CT scan (see below) and removal of the kidney is recommended. If surgery is recommended based on the results of other medical tests, such as a CT scan, many doctors will examine the tumor after it is removed with surgery, rather than doing a separate procedure beforehand. The patient should carefully discuss the reasoning for a recommended biopsy option with his or her doctor.

Imaging tests

X-ray. An x-ray is a way to create a picture of the structures inside of the body, using a small amount of radiation.

Intravenous pyelogram (IVP). A dye is injected into the patient’s bloodstream to highlight the kidney, urethra, and bladder when an x-ray is taken. The picture produced can show changes in these organs and in the nearby lymph nodes. 

Bone scan. A bone scan uses a radioactive tracer to look at the inside of the bones. The tracer is injected into a patient’s vein. It collects in areas of the bone and is detected by a special camera. Healthy bone appears gray to the camera, and areas of injury, such as those caused by cancer or a fracture (break), appear dark. 

Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan. A CT scan creates a three-dimensional picture of the inside of the body with an x-ray machine. A computer then combines these images into a detailed, cross-sectional view that shows any abnormalities or tumors. A CT scan can also be used to measure the tumor’s size. Sometimes, a special dye called a contrast medium is given before the scan to provide better detail on the image. This dye can be injected into a patient’s vein or given as a pill to swallow.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses magnetic fields, not x-rays, to produce detailed images of the body. MRI can also be used to measure the tumor’s size. A special dye called a contrast medium is given before the scan to create a clearer picture. This dye can be injected into a patient’s vein or given as a pill to swallow.

Cystoscopy/nephro-ureteroscopy. Occasionally, special tests called a cystoscopy and nephro-ureteroscopy may be done for renal pelvic cancer. They are not used for renal cell carcinoma. During these procedures, the patient is sedated while a tiny, lighted tube is inserted into the bladder through the urethra and up into the kidney. Sedation is giving medication to become more relaxed, calm, or sleepy. The device can remove samples of cells and, in some cases, small tumors. 

After diagnostic tests are done, your doctor will review all of the results with you. If the diagnosis is cancer, these results also help the doctor describe the cancer; this is called staging.

The next section helps explain the different stages for this type of cancer. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Stages, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Kidney Cancer - Staging With Illustrations

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about how doctors describe a cancer’s growth or spread. This is called the stage. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Staging is a way of describing where the cancer is located, if or where it has spread, and whether it is affecting other parts of the body. Doctors use diagnostic tests to find out the cancer's stage, so staging may not be complete until all the tests are finished. Knowing the stage helps the doctor to decide what kind of treatment is best and can help predict a patient's prognosis, which is the chance of recovery. There are different stage descriptions for different types of cancer.

One tool that doctors use to describe the stage is the TNM system. TNM is an abbreviation for tumor (T), node (N), and metastasis (M). Doctors look at these three factors to determine the stage of cancer:

  • How large is the primary tumor and where is it located? (Tumor, T)
  • Has the tumor spread to the lymph nodes? (Node, N)
  • Has the cancer metastasized to other parts of the body? (Metastasis, M)

The results are combined to determine the stage of cancer for each person. There are five stages: stage 0 (zero) and stages I through IV (one through four), although stage 0 kidney cancer is extremely rare. The stage provides a common way of describing the cancer so doctors can work together to plan the best treatments.

It is important for doctors to learn as much as possible about the tumor because this information can help them predict if the cancer will grow and spread or how it will respond to treatment. This information includes:

  • Cell type
  • Grade, which describes how similar the cancer cells are to healthy cells
  • Presence of specific proteins on the cancer cells, such as carbonic anhydrase IX
  • Personal information, such as the person’s activity level and weight loss
  • Presence or absence of fevers, sweats, and other symptoms

Here are more details on each part of the TNM system for kidney cancer.

Tumor. Using the TNM system, the "T" plus a letter or number (0 to 4) is used to describe the size and location of the tumor. Some stages are also divided into smaller groups that help describe the tumor in even more detail. This helps the doctor develop the best treatment plan for each patient. If there is more than one tumor, the lowercase letter "m" (multiple) is added to the "T" stage category. Specific tumor stage information for kidney cancer is listed below.

TX: The primary tumor cannot be evaluated.

T1: The tumor is found only in the kidney and is 7 centimeters (cm) or smaller at its largest area. There has been much discussion among doctors about whether this classification should only include a tumor 5 cm or smaller.

T1a: The tumor is found only in the kidney and is 4 cm or smaller at its largest area.

T1b: The tumor is found only in the kidney and is between 4 cm and 7 cm at its largest area.

T2: The tumor is found only in the kidney and is larger than 7 cm at its largest area.

T2a: The tumor is only in the kidney and is more than 7 cm but not more than 10 cm at its largest area.

T2b: The tumor is only in the kidney and is more than 10 cm at its largest area.

T3: The tumor has grown into major veins or perinephric tissue, the connective, fatty tissue around the kidneys. However, it has not grown into the adrenal gland on the same side of the body as the tumor. The adrenal glands are located on top of each kidney and produce hormones and adrenaline to help control heart rate, blood pressure, and other body functions. In addition, the tumor has not spread beyond Gerota's fascia, an envelope of tissue that surrounds the kidney.

T3a: The tumor has spread to the large vein leading out of the kidney, called the renal vein, or the muscles of the vein, or it has spread to the fat surrounding the kidney and/or the fat inside the kidney. The tumor has not grown beyond Gerota's fascia.

T3b: The tumor has grown into the large vein leading out of the heart, called the vena cava, below the diaphragm, the muscle under the lungs that helps breathing.

T3c: The tumor has spread to the vena cava above the diaphragm or the walls of the vena cava.

T4: The tumor has spread to areas beyond Gerota's fascia and extends into the adrenal gland on the same side of the body as the tumor.

Node. The “N” in the TNM staging system stands for lymph nodes, the tiny, bean-shaped organs that help fight infection. Lymph nodes near the kidneys are called regional lymph nodes. Lymph nodes in other parts of the body are called distant lymph nodes.

NX: The regional lymph nodes cannot be evaluated.

N0: The cancer has not spread to the regional lymph nodes.

N1: The cancer has spread to regional lymph nodes.

Distant metastasis. The "M" in the TNM system indicates whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Common areas where kidney cancer may spread include the bones, liver, lungs, brain, and distant lymph nodes.

M0: The disease has not metastasized.

M1: The cancer has spread to other parts of the body beyond the kidney area.

Cancer stage grouping

Doctors assign the stage of the cancer by combining the T, N, and M classifications.

Stage I: The tumor is 7 cm or smaller and is only located in the kidney. It has not spread to the lymph nodes or distant organs (T1, N0, M0).

Stage I Kidney Cancer

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Stage II: The tumor is larger than 7 cm and is only located in the kidney. It has not spread to the lymph nodes or distant organs (T2, N0, M0).

Stage II Kidney Cancer

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Stage III: Either of these conditions:

  • A tumor of any size is located only in the kidney. It has spread to the regional lymph nodes but not to other parts of the body (T1, T2; N1; M0).
  • The tumor has grown into major veins or perinephric tissue and may or may not have spread to regional lymph nodes. It has not spread to other parts of the body (T3; any N; M0).

Stage III Kidney Cancer

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Stage IV: Either of these conditions:

  • The tumor has spread to areas beyond Gerota's fascia and extends into the adrenal gland on the same side of the body as the tumor, possibly to lymph nodes, but not to other parts of the body (T4; any N; M0).
  • The tumor has spread to any other organ, such as the lungs, bones, or the brain (any T, any N, M1).

Stage IV Kidney Cancer

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Recurrent: Recurrent cancer is cancer that has come back after treatment. It may be found in the kidney area or in another part of the body. If there is a recurrence, the cancer may need to be staged again (called re-staging) using the system above.

Used with permission of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC), Chicago, Illinois. The original source for this material is the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, Seventh Edition (2010) published by Springer-Verlag New York, www.cancerstaging.net.

Information about the cancer’s stage will help the doctor recommend a treatment plan.  The next section helps explain the treatment options for this type of cancer. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Treatment Options, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Kidney Cancer - Treatment Options

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about the different ways doctors use to treat people with this type of cancer. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

This section outlines treatments that are the standard of care (the best proven treatments available) for this specific type of cancer. When making treatment plan decisions, patients are also encouraged to consider clinical trials as an option. A clinical trial is a research study to test a new approach to treatment to evaluate whether it is safe, effective, and possibly better than the standard treatment. Clinical trials may test such approaches as a new drug, a new combination of standard treatments, or new doses of current therapies. Your doctor can help you review all treatment options. For more information, visit the Clinical Trials and Latest Research sections.

Treatment overview

In cancer care, different types of doctors often work together to create a patient’s overall treatment plan that combines different types of treatments. This is called a multidisciplinary team. For kidney cancer, the health care team is usually be led by a urologist, a doctor who specializes in the genitourinary tract, which includes the kidneys, bladder, genitals, prostate, and testicles, or a urologic oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating cancers of the urinary tract.

Treatment options and recommendations depend on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, possible side effects, and the patient’s preferences and overall health. Your care plan may also include treatment for symptoms and side effects, an important part of cancer care. Take time to learn about all of your treatment options and be sure to ask questions about things that are unclear. Also, talk about the goals of each treatment with your doctor and what you can expect while receiving treatment. Learn more about making treatment decisions.

Kidney cancer is most often treated with surgery, targeted therapy, and/or immunotherapy. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are occasionally used. Patients with kidney cancer that has spread (metastatic cancer, see below) often receive multiple lines of therapy, which are treatments given one after another. Descriptions of these treatment options are listed below.

Active surveillance

In some cases, especially when the cancer is small and slow-growing, the doctor may recommend that the patient is monitored closely and wait to start active treatment until there is evidence that the disease is worsening. This approach is called active surveillance, watchful waiting, or watch-and-wait. 

Surgery

Surgery is the removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue during an operation. If the cancer has not spread beyond the kidneys, surgery to remove the tumor, part or all of the kidney, and possibly nearby tissue and lymph nodes, may be the only treatment necessary. The types of surgery used for kidney cancer include the following procedures:

Radical nephrectomy. Surgery to remove the tumor, the entire kidney, and surrounding tissue is called a radical nephrectomy. If nearby tissue and surrounding lymph nodes are also affected by the disease, a radical nephrectomy and lymph node dissection is performed. During a lymph node dissection, the lymph nodes affected by the cancer are removed. If the cancer has spread to the adrenal gland or nearby blood vessels, the surgeon may remove the adrenal gland during a procedure called an adrenalectomy and parts of the blood vessels.

Partial nephrectomy. A partial nephrectomy is the surgical removal of a tumor while preserving kidney function and lowering the risk of kidney disease after surgery, called hyperfiltration injury. It is used most often for a small tumor, even when the other kidney is functioning normally.

Laparoscopic and robotic surgery. During laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon makes several small incisions rather than the one larger incision in the abdomen used during a traditional surgical procedure. The surgeon then inserts telescoping equipment into these small, keyhole incisions to remove the kidney completely or perform a partial nephrectomy. Sometimes, the surgeon may use robotic instruments to perform the operation. This surgery may take longer, but it is less painful afterward and patients recover more quickly. It is important to discuss the potential benefits and risks of these types of surgery with the surgical team.

Radiofrequency ablation. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is the use of a needle inserted into the tumor to destroy the cancer with an electrical current. The procedure is performed by a radiologist or urologist. The patient is sedated and given local anesthesia to numb the area.

Cryoablation. Cryoablation, also called cryotherapy or cryosurgery, is the freezing of cancer cells with a metal probe inserted through a small incision. The metal probe is placed into the cancerous tissue using a CT scan and ultrasound for guidance. The procedure requires general anesthesia for several hours. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this treatment for kidney cancer, but more research studies are needed to determine how effective this treatment is in the long term.

Talk with your doctor before surgery about what side effects are likely based on the type of surgery you’ll have, and what can be done to reduce or manage these side effects. Learn more about cancer surgery.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. This type of treatment blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting damage to healthy cells. These drugs are becoming more important in the treatment of kidney cancer.

Recent studies show that not all tumors have the same targets. In addition, many research studies are taking place now to find out more about specific molecular targets and new treatments directed at them.

Anti-angiogenesis therapy is a type of targeted therapy used in kidney cancer treatment. It is focused on stopping angiogenesis, which is the process of making new blood vessels. Because a tumor needs the nutrients delivered by blood vessels to grow and spread, the goal of anti-angiogenesis therapies is to “starve” the tumor.

Clear cell kidney cancer has a mutation of the VHL gene that causes the cancer to make too much of a certain protein, known as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF controls the formation of new blood vessels. Drugs known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) help block VEGF and other chemical signals that promote the development of new blood vessels. TKIs such as pazopanib (Votrient), sorafenib (Nexavar), and sunitinib (Sutent), may be used during treatment for clear cell kidney cancer. Axitinib (Inlyta), another TKI, has been approved to treat later-stage renal cell carcinoma. Side effects of TKIs may include diarrhea, high blood pressure, and tenderness and sensitivity in the hands and feet.

Another anti-angiogenic drug, bevacizumab (Avastin), has been shown to slow tumor growth for people with metastatic renal carcinoma. Bevacizumab combined with interferon (see below) slows tumor growth and spreading.

Everolimus (Afinitor) and temsirolimus (Torisel) are drugs that target a certain protein that helps kidney cancer cells grow, called mTOR. Studies show that these drugs slow kidney cancer growth.

Learn more about targeted treatments. Talk with your doctor about possible side effects for each specific medication and how they can be managed. The medications used to treat cancer are continually being evaluated. Talking with your doctor is often the best way to learn about the medications prescribed for you, their purpose, and their potential side effects or interactions with other medications. Learn more about your prescriptions by using searchable drug databases.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight cancer. It uses materials made either by the body or in a laboratory to improve, target, or restore immune system function. Kidney cancer may be one of the few cancers that the body’s immune system can fight, which often makes immunotherapy effective in treating kidney cancer. Immunotherapy may be beneficial in certain patients.

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a drug that has been used to treat later-stage kidney cancer. It is a cellular hormone called a cytokine that is produced by white blood cells and is important in immune system function, including the destruction of tumor cells.

High-dose IL-2 can cause severe side effects, such as low blood pressure, excess fluid in the lungs, kidney damage, heart attack, bleeding, chills, and fever, so patients may need to stay in the hospital for up to 10 days during treatment. However, some symptoms may be reversible. Only centers with expertise in high-dose IL-2 for kidney cancer should recommend IL-2. Some centers use low-dose IL-2 because it has fewer side effects, although it is not as effective.

Alpha-interferon is another type of immunotherapy used to treat kidney cancer that has spread. Interferon appears to change the proteins on the surface of cancer cells and slow their growth. Although it has not proven to be as beneficial as IL-2, alpha-interferon has been proven to increase survival when compared with an older treatment called megestrol acetate. Researchers have tested many combinations of IL-2 and alpha-interferon for patients with advanced kidney cancer, and these treatments have also been combined with chemotherapy. It has not been shown in research studies that these combinations are better than IL-2 or interferon alone.

Researchers are working to learn more about how IL-2 and interferon destroy kidney cancer cells and which patients can benefit the most from these treatments. Newer forms of immunotherapy called checkpoint inhibitors are also being tested in clinical trials (see the Latest Research section).

Learn more about immunotherapy.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to destroy cancer cells. A doctor who specializes in giving radiation therapy to treat cancer is called a radiation oncologist.

Radiation therapy is not considered to be effective as a primary treatment for kidney cancer. It is used alone only rarely to treat kidney cancer because of the high rate of damage that it causes to the healthy kidney. It is used only if a patient cannot have surgery and, even then, usually only on areas where the cancer has spread and not the primary kidney tumor. Most often, radiation therapy is used after the cancer has spread to help ease symptoms, such as bone pain or swelling in the brain.

The most common type of radiation treatment is called external-beam radiation therapy, which is radiation given from a machine outside the body. When radiation treatment is given using implants, it is called internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy. For kidney cancer, internal radiation therapy is given using a hollow needle to insert radioactive seeds directly into a tumor. Another type of radiation therapy is stereotactic radiosurgery, which is designed to direct the radiation therapy to a specific area without damaging nearby tissue. A radiation therapy regimen (schedule) usually consists of a specific number of treatments given over a set period of time.

Side effects from radiation therapy may include fatigue, mild skin reactions, upset stomach, and loose bowel movements. Internal radiation therapy may cause some bleeding, infection, and risk of injury to nearby tissue. Most side effects go away soon after treatment is finished.

Learn more about radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells, usually by stopping the cancer cells’ ability to grow and divide. Chemotherapy is given by a medical oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with medication.

Systemic chemotherapy is delivered through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells throughout the body. Common ways to give chemotherapy include an intravenous (IV) tube placed into a vein using a needle or in a pill or capsule that is swallowed (orally). A chemotherapy regimen (schedule) usually consists of a specific number of cycles given over a set period of time. A patient may receive one drug at a time or combinations of different drugs at the same time.

While chemotherapy is useful for treating most types of cancer, kidney cancer is often resistant to chemotherapy. However, researchers continue to study new drugs and new combinations of drugs. For some patients, the combination of gemcitabine (Gemzar) and capecitabine (Xeloda) or fluorouracil (5-FU, Adrucil) will temporarily shrink a tumor.

It is important to remember that transitional cell carcinoma, also called urothelial carcinoma, and Wilms tumor are much more likely to be successfully treated with chemotherapy.

The side effects of chemotherapy depend on the individual and the dose used, but can include fatigue, risk of infection, nausea and vomiting, hair loss, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. These side effects usually go away once treatment is finished.

Learn more about chemotherapy and preparing for treatment. The medications used to treat cancer are continually being evaluated. Talking with your doctor is often the best way to learn about the medications prescribed for you, their purpose, and their potential side effects or interactions with other medications. Learn more about your prescriptions by using searchable drug databases.

Getting care for symptoms and side effects

Cancer and its treatment often cause side effects. In addition to treatment to slow, stop, or eliminate the cancer, an important part of cancer care is relieving a person’s symptoms and side effects. This approach is called palliative or supportive care, and it includes supporting the patient with his or her physical, emotional, and social needs.

Palliative care can help a person at any stage of illness. People often receive treatment for the cancer and treatment to ease side effects at the same time. In fact, patients who receive both often have less severe symptoms, better quality of life, and report they are more satisfied with treatment.

Palliative treatments vary widely and often include medication, nutritional changes, relaxation techniques, and other therapies. You may also receive palliative treatments similar to those meant to eliminate the cancer, such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. Talk with your doctor about the goals of each treatment in your treatment plan.

Before treatment begins, talk with your health care team about the possible side effects of your specific treatment plan and supportive care options. And during and after treatment, be sure to tell your doctor or another health care team member if you are experiencing a problem so it is addressed as quickly as possible. Learn more about palliative care.   

Metastatic kidney cancer

In the most advanced stage (stage IV; metastatic), kidney cancer cells have broken away from the original tumor and have traveled through the lymphatic system or blood to other parts of the body, where they begin growing new tumors. The most common place kidney cancer spreads is to the lungs, but it can also spread to the lymph nodes, bones, liver, brain, skin, and other areas in the body. If the cancer has spread to many areas beyond the kidney, it is more difficult to treat. 

Patients with this diagnosis are encouraged to talk with doctors who are experienced in treating this stage of cancer, because there can be different opinions about the best treatment plan. Learn more about seeking a second opinion before starting treatment, so you are comfortable with the treatment plan chosen. This discussion may include clinical trials.

Your health care team may recommend a treatment plan that includes a combination of treatments. Currently, the most effective treatment for metastatic kidney cancer is targeted therapy that slows or prevents tumor growth and blood vessel formation. These drugs have been shown to lengthen life when compared with standard treatment. Supportive care is also important to help relieve symptoms and side effects.

For most patients, a diagnosis of metastatic cancer is very stressful and, at times, difficult to bear. Patients and their families are encouraged to talk about the way they are feeling with doctors, nurses, social workers, or other members of the health care team. It may also be helpful to talk with other patients, including through a support group.

Remission and the chance of recurrence

A remission is when cancer cannot be detected in the body and there are no symptoms. This may also be called “no evidence of disease” or NED. 

A remission can be temporary or permanent. This uncertainty leads to many survivors feeling worried or anxious that the cancer will come back. While many remissions are permanent, it’s important to talk with your doctor about the possibility of the cancer returning. Understanding the risk of recurrence and the treatment options may help you feel more prepared if the cancer does return. Learn more about coping with the fear of recurrence

If the cancer does return after the original treatment, it is called recurrent cancer. It may come back in the same place (called a local recurrence), nearby (regional recurrence), or in another place (distant recurrence).

When this occurs, a cycle of testing will begin again to learn as much as possible about the recurrence, including whether the cancer’s stage has changed. After testing is done, you and your doctor will talk about your treatment options. Often the treatment plan will include the therapies described above, such as surgery, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, but they may be used in a different combination or given at a different pace. Your doctor may also suggest clinical trials that are studying new ways to treat this type of recurrent cancer.

People with recurrent cancer often experience emotions such as disbelief or fear. Patients are encouraged to talk with their health care team about these feelings and ask about support services to help them cope. Learn more about dealing with cancer recurrence.

If treatment fails

Recovery from cancer is not always possible. If treatment is not successful, the disease may be called advanced or terminal cancer.

This diagnosis is stressful, and this is difficult to discuss for many people. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your doctor and health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team is there to help, and many team members have special skills, experience, and knowledge to support patients and their families. Making sure a person is physically comfortable and free from pain is extremely important.

Patients who have advanced cancer and who are expected to live less than six months may want to consider a type of palliative care called hospice care. Hospice care is designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. You and your family are encouraged to think about where you would be most comfortable: at home, in the hospital, or in a hospice environment. Nursing care and special equipment can make staying at home a workable alternative for many families. Learn more about advanced cancer care planning.

After the death of a loved one, many people need support to help them cope with the loss. Learn more about grief and loss.

The next section helps explain clinical trials, which are research studies. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select About Clinical Trials, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Kidney Cancer - About Clinical Trials

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will learn more about clinical trials, which are the main way that new medical approaches are tested to see how well they work. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors and scientists are always looking for better ways to treat patients with kidney cancer. To make scientific advances, doctors create research studies involving volunteers, called clinical trials.

Many clinical trials are focused on new treatments, evaluating whether a new treatment is safe, effective, and possibly better than the current (standard) treatment. These types of studies evaluate new drugs, different combinations of existing treatments, new approaches to radiation therapy or surgery, and new methods of treatment. Patients who participate in clinical trials are often among the first to receive new treatments before they are widely available. However, there is no guarantee that the new treatment will be safe, effective, or better than a standard treatment.

There are also clinical trials that study new ways to ease symptoms and side effects during treatment and manage the late effects that may occur after treatment. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials regarding side effects. In addition, there are ongoing studies about ways to prevent the disease.

Patients decide to participate in clinical trials for many reasons. For some patients, a clinical trial is the best treatment option available. Because standard treatments are not perfect, patients are often willing to face the added uncertainty of a clinical trial in the hope of a better result. Other patients volunteer for clinical trials because they know that these studies are the only way to make progress in treating kidney cancer. Even if they do not benefit directly from the clinical trial, their participation may benefit future patients with kidney cancer.

Sometimes people have concerns that, by participating in a clinical trial, they may receive no treatment by being given a placebo or a “sugar pill.” The use of placebos in cancer clinical trials is rare. When a placebo is used in a study, it is done with the full knowledge of the participants. Find out more about placebos in cancer clinical trials.

To join a clinical trial, patients must participate in a process known as informed consent. During informed consent, the doctor should list all of the patient's options, so that the person understands how the new treatment differs from the standard treatment. The doctor must also list all of the risks of the new treatment, which may or may not be different than the risks of standard treatment. Finally, the doctor must explain what will be required of each patient in order to participate in the clinical trial, including the number of doctor visits, tests, and the schedule of treatment.

For specific topics being studied for kidney cancer, learn more in the Latest Research section.

Patients who participate in a clinical trial may stop participating at any time for any personal or medical reason. This may include that the new treatment is not working or there are serious side effects. Clinical trials are also closely monitored by experts who watch for any problems with each study. It is important that patients participating in a clinical trial talk with their doctor and researchers about who will be providing their treatment and care during the clinical trial, after the clinical trial ends, and/or if the patient chooses to leave the clinical trial before it ends.

Cancer.Net offers a lot of information about cancer clinical trials in other areas of the website, including a complete section on clinical trials and places to search for clinical trials for a specific type of cancer.

The next section helps explain the areas of research going on today about this type of cancer. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Latest Research, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Kidney Cancer - Latest Research

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors are working to learn more about kidney cancer, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.

Because most types of kidney cancer do not respond well to traditional chemotherapy, research for kidney cancer focuses on using new and different treatments, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.

Targeted therapy. Several recently discovered drugs that affect the process of blood vessel development and/or cancer cell growth are being tested as treatments for kidney cancer. The early results from these clinical trials show that these types of drugs may be effective treatments for kidney cancer, and this is an area of rapid scientific change. Many targeted therapies are being studied for use as adjuvant therapies, which are treatments given after the main treatment(s) to lower the risk of recurrence and to get rid of any hidden remaining cancer cells. Currently, there are no adjuvant therapies for kidney cancer that have shown significant benefit.

Cancer vaccines. Cancer vaccines are treatments that help a person’s immune system fight cancer. Doctors are testing the use of several cancer vaccines to treat kidney cancer and prevent recurrence for people with later-stage renal cell carcinoma. One vaccine is made from a person's tumor and given after surgery, while others are made from proteins found on the surface of kidney cancer cells or blood vessel cells found in the tumor.

Checkpoint inhibitors. A new type of immunotherapy, called checkpoint inhibitors, works by taking the brakes off the immune system so the immune system is better able to destroy the cancer. These drugs utilize antibodies directed at specific molecules found on the surface of immune cells, such as programmed death-1 (PD-1) and cytotoxic T Lymphocyte Antigen-4 (CTLA-4). Some early results of research using these drugs to treat kidney cancer are encouraging, and more clinical trials are currently ongoing.

Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current kidney cancer treatments in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding kidney cancer, explore these related items that will take you outside of this guide:

The next section addresses how to cope with the symptoms of the disease or the side effects of its treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Coping with Side Effects, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Kidney Cancer - Coping with Side Effects

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about steps to take to help cope with physical, social, and emotional side effects. This page includes several links outside of this guide to other sections of this website. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Fear of treatment side effects is common after a diagnosis of cancer, but it may help to know that preventing and controlling side effects is a major focus of your health care team. This is called palliative or supportive care, and it is an important part of the overall treatment plan, regardless of the stage of disease.

Common side effects from each treatment option for kidney cancer are described in detail within the Treatment Options section. Learn more about the most common side effects of cancer and different treatments, along with ways to prevent or control them. Side effects depend on a variety of factors, including the cancer’s stage, the length and dosage of treatment(s), and your overall health.

Before treatment begins, talk with your doctor about possible side effects of each type of treatment you will be receiving. Ask which side effects are most likely to happen, when they are likely to occur, and what can be done to prevent or relieve them. And, ask about the level of caregiving you may need during treatment and recovery, as family members and friends often play an important role in the care of a person with kidney cancer. Learn more about caregiving.

In addition to physical side effects, there may be emotional and social effects as well. Patients and their families are encouraged to share their feelings with a member of their health care team who can help with coping strategies, including concerns about managing the cost of your cancer care

During and after treatment, be sure to tell the health care team about the side effects you experience, even if you feel they are not serious. Sometimes, side effects can last beyond the treatment period, called a long-term side effect. A side effect that occurs months or years after treatment is called a late effect. Treatment of both types of effects is an important part of survivorship care. Learn more by reading the After Treatment section or talking with your doctor. 

The next section helps explain medical tests and check-ups needed after finishing cancer treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select After Treatment, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Kidney Cancer - After Treatment

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about your medical care after cancer treatment is finished and why this follow-up care is important. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

After treatment for kidney cancer ends, talk with your doctor about developing a follow-up care plan. This plan may include regular physical examinations and/or medical tests to monitor your recovery for the coming months and years.

ASCO offers cancer treatment summary forms to help keep track of the cancer treatment you received and develop a survivorship care plan once treatment is completed.

As part of this follow-up care, patients should receive regular blood tests to check kidney function, chest x-rays, CT scans of the abdomen and chest, and other imaging tests to watch for recurrence or metastasis. Patients should have a checkup every three months for the first year, every four months for the second to fifth year, and once a year after that.

Because people treated for kidney cancer often have a single kidney, they will need to be monitored for possible declining kidney function for the rest of their lives. There are few long-term side effects, although some patients may have chronic pain from the surgical scar. Also, people treated for kidney cancer have a slightly higher risk of developing colon cancer and prostate cancer.

People recovering from kidney cancer are encouraged to follow established guidelines for good health, such as maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, limiting alcohol, eating a balanced diet, and having recommended cancer screening tests. Talk with your doctor to develop a plan that is best for your needs. Moderate physical activity can help rebuild your strength and energy level. Your doctor can help you create an appropriate exercise plan based on your needs, physical abilities, and fitness level. Learn more about the next steps to take in survivorship, including making positive lifestyle changes.

The next section offers a list of questions you may want to ask. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Questions to Ask the Doctor, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.  

Kidney Cancer - Questions to Ask the Doctor

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some questions to ask your doctor or other members of your health care team, to help you better understand your diagnosis, treatment plan, and overall care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Talking often with the doctor is important to make informed decisions about your health care. These suggested questions are a starting point to help you learn more about your cancer care and treatment. You are also encouraged to ask additional questions that are important to you. You may want to print this list and bring it to your next appointment, or download Cancer.Net’s free mobile app for an e-list and other interactive tools to manage your care.

  • What type of kidney cancer do I have?
  • What type of cell makes up the tumor?
  • Can you explain my pathology report to me?
  • What is the stage of my cancer? What does this mean?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What is my prognosis?
  • What clinical trials are open to me? Where are they located, and how do I find out more about them?
  • What treatment plan do you recommend? Why?
  • What is the goal of each treatment? Is it to eliminate the cancer, help me feel better, or both?
  • Who will be part of my health care team, and what does each member do?
  • Who will be coordinating my overall treatment and follow-up care?
  • Who will be doing the surgery? How experienced is this person with this type of cancer?
  • Can I have a partial nephrectomy? If not, why?
  • If I first receive a type of treatment other than surgery, can surgery be done later, if necessary?
  • Will I need treatment after surgery? What type of treatment?
  • What role, if any, does targeted therapy play in my treatment plan?
  • Does this center have expertise in using high-dose IL-2? If not, what is the nearest center with that expertise?
  • What are the possible side effects of treatment, both in the short term and the long term?
  • How can I keep myself as healthy as possible during treatment?
  • How will this treatment affect my daily life? Will I be able to work, exercise, and perform my usual activities?
  • Could this treatment affect my sex life? If so, how and for how long?
  • Could this treatment affect my ability to become pregnant or have children in the future? If so, should I talk with a fertility specialist before cancer treatment begins?
  • If I’m worried about managing the costs related to my cancer care, who can help me with these concerns?
  • What are the chances the cancer will come back after treatment?
  • What follow-up tests will I need, and how often will I need them?
  • What support services are available to me? To my family?
  • Whom should I call for questions or problems?

The next section offers some more resources that may be helpful to you. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Additional Resources, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.

Kidney Cancer - Additional Resources

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some helpful links to other areas of Cancer.Net that provide information about cancer care and treatment. This is the final page of Cancer.Net’s Guide to Kidney Cancer. To go back and review other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Cancer.Net includes many other sections about the medical and emotional aspects of cancer, both for the person diagnosed and their family members and friends. This website is meant to be a resource for you and your loved ones from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, and beyond. Here are a few sections that may get you started in exploring the rest of Cancer.Net:

This is the end of Cancer.Net’s Guide to Kidney Cancer. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select another section to continue reading this guide.