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St. Petersburg General Hospital
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Treatments for Kidney Cancer

The goal of treatment is to destroy as much of the cancer as possible, while preserving kidney tissue and function. Additional treatment may help to prevent the spread or recurrence of cancer. The treatment plan will often include a combination of approaches based on the characteristics of the cancer, patient's age, general health, and prognosis. Comfort measures can be provided if kidney cancer is in advanced stages.

The treatment and management of kidney cancer most often involves surgery and drugs that target certain cancer cell characteristics to inhibit growth (targeted therapies). Biologic therapies may also be used to alter components of the immune system so it can better recognize and fight the cancer cells. Chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy are common treatment options with most cancers, but are not as effective in treating kidney cancer.

The healthcare team will be made up of a variety of health professionals including doctors, surgeons, nurses, and pharmacists. It is important to maintain contact with your medical team, adhere to recommended treatment, and go to any recommended appointments for best outcomes possible.

Kidney cancer treatment includes:

SurgeryBiologic and Targeted TherapyRadiation therapyChemotherapyHormonal therapyLifestyle changesManaging the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment

Existing treatment protocols have been established and continue to be modified through clinical trials. Research studies are important to determine whether or not new treatments are both safe and effective. You may wish to ask your doctor if you should consider participating in a clinical trial. You can find out about clinical trials at the US National Institutes of Health website.

Revision Information

  • Kidney cancer. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneycancer. Accessed December 22, 2015.

  • Kidney cancer (adult)—renal cell carcinoma. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003107-pdf.pdf. Accessed December 22, 2015.

  • Renal cell carcinoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 21, 2015. Accessed December 22, 2015.

  • Renal cell carcinoma (adenocarcinoma of the kidneys). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/genitourinary-cancer/renal-cell-carcinoma. Updated November 2013. Accessed December 22, 2015.

  • Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/kidney/patient/kidney-treatment-pdq#section/%5F50. Updated July 7, 2015. Accessed December 22, 2015.