What to Know First About Your Treatment Choices for Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancer can be treated. The choices you have for treatment depend on these factors:
The type of kidney cancer you have
The size and location of your tumor
The extent of the cancer, called the stage
Your age and general health
Your personal needs
Treatment may control or cure the kidney cancer. It can also improve your quality of life by controlling symptoms of the disease.
Once you know your stage of kidney cancer, it is time to decide on a treatment plan. This section will help you understand your treatment options and what's best for you. Talking about your treatment choices will be one of the most important meetings you will have with your doctor.
Deciding on the best plan may take some time. Talk with your doctor about how much time you can take to explore your options. You may want to get another opinion before deciding on your treatment plan. In fact, some insurance companies may require a second opinion. In addition, you may want to involve your family and friends in this process.
Understanding the goals of treatment for kidney cancer
The goal of kidney cancer treatment is to do one or more of these things:
Remove the primary kidney cancer tumor or other tumors
Kill or stop the growth or spread of new kidney cancer cells, which is called metastasis
Prevent or delay the cancer's return, which is called recurrence
Ease symptoms of the cancer, such as pain or pressure on organs
Types of treatment for kidney cancer
There is more than one option for treatment. These are listed from the most to least commonly done:
Your doctor may suggest that you have more than one of these types of treatment. This is sometimes called combination therapy. Newer types of treatment may be available only through a research study. This is called a clinical trial. You can ask your doctor about that option.
Your doctor may also recommend the best supportive care, which helps ease your symptoms but doesn't specifically treat the cancer. Your doctor may suggest supportive care if he or she believes that available treatments are more likely to do you more harm than good.