Surgery to remove of all or part of the kidney (nephrectomy) is recommended. This may include removing the bladder, surrounding tissues, or lymph nodes. A cure is unlikely unless all of the cancer is removed with surgery.
Hormone treatments may make the tumor smaller in some cases.
Chemotherapy is generally not effective for treating kidney cancer. However, the drug interleukin-2 (IL-2) may help some patients. It is a very powerful drug that can have severe side effects.
Newer medicines to treat kidney cancer include:
Radiation therapy usually does not work for kidney cancer.
You can ease the stress of illness by joining a support group whose members share common experiences and problems.
Sometimes both kidneys are involved. The cancer spreads easily, most often to the lungs and other organs. In about one-third of patients, the cancer has already spread (metastasized) at the time of diagnosis.
How well a patient does depends on how much the cancer has spread and how well treatment works. The survival rate is highest if the tumor is in the early stages and has not spread outside the kidney. If it has spread to the lymph nodes or to other organs, the survival rate is much lower.
Call your health care provider any time you see blood in the urine. Also call if you have any other symptoms of this disorder.
Stop smoking. Follow your health care provider's recommendations in the treatment of kidney disorders, especially those that may require dialysis.
Barjorin D. Tumors of the kidney, bladder, ureters, and renal pelvis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 2003.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network. National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Kidney Cancer. 2012. Version 1.2012.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.