- How is kidney cancer treated?
- Surgery for kidney cancer
- Ablation and other local therapy for kidney cancer
- Active surveillance for kidney cancer
- Radiation therapy for kidney cancer
- Targeted therapies for kidney cancer
- Biologic therapy (immunotherapy) for kidney cancer
- Chemotherapy for kidney cancer
- Pain control for kidney cancer
- Clinical trials for kidney cancer
- Complementary and alternative therapies for kidney cancer
- Treatment choices by stage for kidney cancer
- More treatment information about kidney cancer
Active surveillance for kidney cancer
One option for some patients with small kidney tumors (those less than 4 cm, which is about 1½ inches), may be to give no treatment at first and watch the tumor carefully to see if it grows. The tumor is removed (or treated another way) if it grows quickly or gets larger than 4 cm.
This approach is most often used in elderly or frail patients as it avoids the risks of treatment. Often, a biopsy is done before deciding to watch the tumor to see if the growth is really cancer. Some of these small tumors turn out to not be cancers at all. Watching them closely for a time helps doctors decide which tumors are more likely to be cancer based on their growth pattern.
Last Medical Review: 02/24/2014
Last Revised: 01/13/2015