What Are Your Treatment Options for Different Kidney Cancer Stages?

Kidney cancer is not a new problem, and there are various options your doctor may recommend depending on the stage of your kidney cancer. Learn about the available treatment options you have for each stage when battling kidney cancer. 

Stages I, II, or III

Stages I and II of kidney cancer are often still contained in the kidney. However, stage III cancer typically grows and spreads significantly to nearby major veins or lymph nodes. Usually, immediate surgery will aid in removing these cancers, and the two conventional approaches include the following:

  1. Partial nephrectomy – This involves the removal of the affected parts in the kidney and is recommended for tumour growth of up to 7cm. 

  2. Radical nephrectomy – This involves the removal of the entire kidney as well as nearby swollen lymph nodes. 

In case the cancer spreads to nearby veins (common in stage III), the surgeon invokes the bypass technique to open the veins and clear the cancers. The risks of cancer reoccurrence can be minimised by administering the drug sunitinib for a year. However, for other severe medical conditions, local treatments like cryotherapy or arterial embolisation can help. 

Stage IV

In this stage, cancer grows beyond the kidneys and spreads to other body parts, like distant organs or lymph nodes. Thus, treatment will largely depend on the extent of cancer and your overall health. Usually, surgery will be adopted in the treatment plan. However, there are some rare cases where a primary tumour seems to be removable, and the disease has only spread to only one region.

Hence, if your health condition is good, doctors may recommend surgery to remove the metastasis and the kidney. Otherwise, immunotherapy treatment, targeted therapy or both therapies may be adopted. Your doctor follows up with systemic therapy to assist in the recovery process. However, first-line therapies such as immunotherapy or targeted therapy are the likely course of action if the cancer can't be surgically removed. 

Recurrent Kidney Cancer

Cancer may be termed recurrent if it returns after treatment, and it can be local or distant. Repetitive kidney cancer treatment after the initial therapy depends mostly on the type of treatment used and your current health status. For local recurrence, further surgery might be a better option. However, for distant recurrence, your options depend on previous drugs administered before recurrence and your general health. 

Finally, for progressive cancers, doctors may use different therapy treatment such as immunotherapy. But if this fails to work, chemotherapy can be adopted, especially if you have non-clear renal cell cancer. Other palliative treatments, like embolisation, can be perfect for recurrent kidney cancer. For more information about kidney cancer treatment, reach out to medical professionals.