Kidney Cancer (Adult) Renal Cell Carcinoma Overview

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After Treatment TOPICS

If treatment for kidney cancer stops working

If cancer keeps growing or comes back after one kind of treatment, another treatment plan might still cure the cancer, or at least shrink it enough to help you live longer and feel better. But when a person has tried many treatments and the cancer has not gotten any better, even newer treatments might not work. At this time you may have to weigh the possible benefits of trying a new treatment against the downsides, like treatment side effects and clinic visits. Everyone has their own way of looking at this.

Palliative care

No matter what you decide to do, you need to feel as good as you can. Make sure you are asking for and getting treatment for any symptoms you might have, such as nausea or pain. This type of treatment is called palliative care.

Palliative care helps relieve symptoms, but is not meant to cure the disease. It can be given along with cancer treatment, or can even be cancer treatment. The difference is its purpose − the main goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of your life, or help you feel as good as you can for as long as you can.

Hospice care

At some point you may want to think about hospice care. Most of the time it is given at home. Your cancer may be causing symptoms or problems that need to be treated. Hospice focuses on your comfort. You should know that having hospice care doesn’t mean you can’t have treatment for the problems caused by your cancer or other health issues. It just means that the purpose of your care is to help you live life as fully as possible and to feel as well as you can. You can learn more about this in our document Hospice Care.

Staying hopeful is important, too. Your hope for a cure may not be as bright, but there is still hope for good times with family and friends − times that are filled with joy and meaning. Pausing at this time in your cancer treatment gives you a chance to focus on the most important things in your life. Now is the time to do some things you’ve always wanted to do and to stop doing the things you no longer want to do. Though the cancer may be beyond your control, there are still choices you can make.

To learn more

You can learn more about the changes that occur when treatment stops working, and about planning ahead for yourself and your family, in our documents Nearing the End of Life and Advance Directives.


Last Medical Review: 04/29/2014
Last Revised: 04/29/2014