- 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
How is kidney cancer treated?
Making treatment decisions
After the cancer is found and staged, your cancer care team will discuss your treatment options with you. It is important to take time and think about your possible choices. In choosing a treatment plan, one of the most important factors is the stage of the cancer. Other factors to consider include your overall health, the likely side effects of the treatment, and the probability of curing the disease, extending life, or relieving symptoms.
If you have kidney cancer, your treatment options may include:
- Ablation and other local therapies
- Active surveillance
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
- Immunotherapy (biologic therapy)
Sometimes, more than one of type of treatment might be used.
You may have different types of doctors on your treatment team, depending on the stage of your cancer and your treatment options. These doctors could include:
- A urologist: a surgeon who specializes in treating diseases of the urinary system (and male reproductive system)
- A radiation oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with radiation therapy
- A medical oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy
Many other specialists might be part of your treatment team as well, including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, physical therapists, social workers, and other health professionals. See Health Professionals Associated With Cancer Care for more on this.
It’s important to discuss all of your treatment options as well as their possible side effects with your doctors to help make the decision that best fits your needs. (See the section “What should you ask your doctor about kidney cancer?” for some questions to ask.)
When time permits, getting a second opinion is often a good idea. It can give you more information and help you feel good about the treatment plan you choose.
The next few sections describe the different types of treatments used for kidney cancer. This is followed by a description of the most common treatment options based on the stage of the cancer.
Last Medical Review: 02/24/2014
Last Revised: 03/03/2015