Moving on after treatment for kidney cancer
For some people with kidney cancer, treatment can remove or destroy the cancer. Completing treatment can be both stressful and exciting. You may be relieved to finish treatment, but find it hard not to worry about cancer coming back. (When cancer comes back after treatment, it is called recurrence.) This is a very common concern in people who have had cancer.
It may take a while before your fears lessen. But it may help to know that many people have learned to live with this uncertainty and are leading full lives. Our document Living With Uncertainty: The Fear of Cancer Recurrence gives more details about this.
For other people, the cancer may never go away completely. Some people may get regular treatments with targeted therapy or other treatments to try to help keep the cancer in check. Learning to live with cancer that does not go away can be hard and very stressful. It has its own type of uncertainty. Our document When Cancer Doesn’t Go Away talks more about this.
When treatment ends, your doctors will still want to watch you closely. It’s very important to go to all of your scheduled visits. During these visits, your doctors will ask questions about any problems you may have. You might have exams and lab tests or x-rays and scans to look for signs of cancer or treatment side effects. Almost any cancer treatment can have side effects. Some can last for a few weeks to months, but others can last the rest of your life. This is the time for you to talk to your cancer care team about any changes or problems you notice and any questions or concerns you have.
It’s also very important to keep your health insurance. Tests and doctor visits cost a lot, and even though no one wants to think of their cancer coming back, this could happen.
Should your cancer come back, our document When Your Cancer Comes Back: Cancer Recurrence can help you manage and cope with this phase of your treatment.
Seeing a new doctor
At some point after your cancer is found and treated, you may find yourself seeing a new doctor. It’s important to be able to give your new doctor the details of your diagnosis and treatment. Gathering these details soon after treatment may be easier than trying to get them at some point in the future. Make sure you have this information handy, and always keep copies for yourself:
- A copy of your pathology report from any biopsy or surgery
- If you had surgery, a copy of your operative report
- If you stayed in the hospital, a copy of the discharge summary that the doctor wrote when you were sent home
- If you had radiation treatment, a summary of the type and dose of radiation and when and where it was given
- If you had targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or chemotherapy, a list of your drugs, drug doses, and when you took them
- Copies of your CTs, MRIs, or other imaging tests (these can often be stored on a DVD, etc.)
Last Medical Review: 04/29/2014
Last Revised: 01/13/2015