Kidney Cancer (cont.)

What happens after treatment for kidney cancer?

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Follow-up care after treatment for kidney cancer is important. Even when the cancer seems to have been completely removed or destroyed, the disease sometimes returns because cancer cells can remain hidden elsewhere in the body after treatment. The doctor monitors the recovery of the person treated for kidney cancer and checks for recurrence of cancer. Checkups help ensure that any changes in health are noted. The patient may have lab tests, chest X-rays, CT scans, or other tests.

Support for people with kidney cancer

Living with a serious disease such as kidney cancer is not easy. People with kidney cancer may worry about caring for their families, keeping their jobs, or continuing daily activities. Concerns about treatments and managing side effects, hospital stays, and medical bills are also common. Doctors, nurses, and other members of the health care team can answer questions about treatment, working, or other activities. Meeting with a social worker, counselor, or member of the clergy can be helpful to those who want to talk about their feelings or discuss their concerns. Often, a social worker can suggest resources for financial aid, transportation, home care, or emotional support.

Support groups also can help. In these groups, patients or their family members meet with other patients or their families to share what they have learned about coping with the disease and the effects of treatment. Groups may offer support in person, over the telephone, or on the Internet. Patients may want to talk with a member of their health care team about finding a support group.

The Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER can provide information to help patients and their families locate programs, services, and publications.

What does the future hold in the field of kidney cancer?

Doctors all over the country are conducting many types of clinical trials. These are research studies in which people volunteer to take part. In clinical trials, doctors are testing new ways to treat kidney cancer. Research has already led to advances, and researchers continue to search for more effective approaches.

Patients who join these studies have the first chance to benefit from treatments that have shown promise in earlier research. They also make an important contribution to medical science by helping doctors learn more about the disease. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, researchers do all they can to protect their patients.

Researchers are studying surgery, biological therapy, chemotherapy, and combinations of these types of treatment. They also are combining chemotherapy with new treatments, like stem cell transplantation. A stem cell transplant allows a patient to be treated with high doses of drugs. The high doses destroy both cancer cells and normal blood cells in the bone marrow. Later, the patient receives healthy stem cells from a donor. New blood cells develop from the transplanted stem cells.

Other approaches also are under study. For example, researchers are studying cancer vaccines that help the immune system to find and attack kidney cancer cells.

Patients who are interested in being part of a clinical trial should talk with their doctor.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/28/2014

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Kidney Cancer - Follow-up Care Question: What type of follow-up care have you, a friend, or relative received for kidney cancer?

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