Kidney Cancer Treatment

Treating Renal Cell Carcinoma Kidney Cancer

Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer. It causes cells to divide at an aggressive rate, so a tumor forms on one of the kidneys. It is rare that a person will develop tumors on both of their kidneys simultaneously. More often than not, patients don’t realize that they have cancer until the tumor has grown to be fairly large. Luckily, this type of cancer has a high rate of survival if it is caught in its early stages though. The longer someone waits for treatment, the worse their prognosis will become. The following are several of the options for treating renal cell carcinoma:

Surveillance

If a tumor is still fairly small, then sometimes doctors recommend a “wait and see” approach to treatment. The patient will be monitored every few months to check on the size of the tumor. If it doesn’t grow, then it is left alone. But if the growth rate increases dramatically, other more invasive treatment options are necessary. Many patients prefer to start out with surveillance of their tumor because they don’t want to have to undergo any unnecessary surgery or treatments. The method of checking the size of the tumor varies because a person could get a secondary type of cancer if they are exposed to too much radiation from MRIs and CT scans.

Ablation

Cancerous tumors on the kidneys can get to be as large as a man’s fist, which puts pressure on the kidney it is attached to and other surrounding organs. So when this is the case, a doctor might recommend ablation to remove it. This is a surgical procedure that cuts away the tumor. Sometimes, part of the kidney that it is attached to has to be removed. And if the kidney is too damaged, it might have to be taken out completely. A person can survive with just one kidney, so an organ transplant to replace it usually isn’t necessary.

Immunotherapy

The body can heal itself if it is given the proper environment to do so. There are many drugs available that work similarly to antibiotics to boost the immune system up enough, so it can rid the body of cancer without any other form of treatment. Immunotherapy works the best when it is started in the early stages of renal cell carcinoma. It can be used in correlation with other treatments, such as surgery. Many patients prefer to try this form of treatment before starting radiation or chemotherapy that could cause them more harm than good.

Chemotherapy

This type of treatment is only needed if the kidney cancer has spread to other parts of the body. It involves giving a patient different medicines to try to suppress the growth of the cancerous cells. Unfortunately, this form of treatment also damages healthy cells though. So it is looked at as a last resort option for saving a person’s life. Chemotherapy can be given in the form of prescription medications that a person takes at home, or they can receive them at a cancer treatment center.

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