Patients that suffer from kidney cancer have a variety of options to choose from when determining which treatment method will be best for their situation.
After the doctor performs all of the necessary tests needed to diagnose and stage the cancer they can then inform the patient of all the treatment options available. Patients with kidney cancer can have surgery performed, can have be prescribed drugs, can partake in clinical trials, can have embolization performed and can have cryoablation performed.
The purpose of treating kidney cancer is usually to relieve the pain and suffering associated with the disease because the majority of cases cannot be cured since they are discovered so late in the development of the cancer. Why are they discovered so late? Symptoms of kidney cancer usually don’t begin to show until the disease has progressed into later stages of the disease.
Common Treatment Options
Surgery is the most common and first form of treatment for kidney cancer patients.
- Nephrectomy: During this surgery the doctor will remove the affected kidney entirely. After removing the kidney the doctor will also remove the adrenal gland above the kidney, a border of healthy tissue, and any adjacent lymph nodes.
- Nephron-Sparing Surgery: The other surgical option is to remove the tumor from the kidney. This option is used in patients that have only one kidney or that have been diagnosed with an early staged cancer.
If your cancer is recurring, then surgery is usually employed to remove as much of the tumor as possible.
Doctors might also prescribe drugs that will use your immune system to fight the cancer. This is called biological therapy. These drugs will cause vomiting, nausea, chills, fever and a loss of appetite.
OTHER TREATMENT OPTIONS
If your cancer has spread to other areas of your body, known as metastasize, then the tumors in other parts of the body might be able to be treated. These tumors will be treated according to their size, type, location, and behavior.
If surgery is not a treatment option, than kidney cancer patients are often treated with embolization or cryoablation performed.
- Embolization: Embolization is the process of blocking blood flow to the tumor. A material is injected into the main blood vessel leading to the kidney, which blocks blood and nutrients from getting to the tumor. Side effects of this procedure include nausea, vomiting, and pain. This procedure is also done to relieve pain and bleeding over a long period of time.
- Cryoablation: This is the process of freezing the cancerous cells on the kidney. A gas is inserted into the cells that freezes them, and then another gas is inserted to thaw them out, ultimately killing the cancer cells. The side effects of this process are bleeding, infection, and damage to surrounding tissue.
Other treatment options for kidney cancer include clinical studies. Clinical studies, or clinical trials, are studies that involve new methods of treatments not yet available to all patients with kidney cancer. Not all clinical studies will offer curative therapies, but they might be worth considering if other treatment options are not successful.