Kidney Cancer (Adult) Renal Cell Carcinoma Overview

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Treating Kidney Cancer TOPICS

How is kidney cancer treated?

This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don’t hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.

About treatment

After the cancer is found and staged, your doctor will talk with you about your treatment options. It’s important to take time and think about your choices. One of the most important factors is the stage of your cancer. Other things to take into account include your overall health, the likely side effects of the treatment, the chances of curing the disease, helping you live longer, or relieving symptoms.

If you have kidney cancer, your treatment options may include:

Sometimes, more than one of type of treatment might be used.

It’s important to discuss all of your options and their possible side effects with your doctors to help you choose the best fit for you. (See the section “What should I ask my doctor about kidney cancer?” for some questions to ask.) When time allows, 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.

Based on your treatment options, you might have different types of doctors on your treatment team. These could include:

  • A urologist: a surgeon who treats diseases of the urinary system (and male reproductive system)
  • A radiation oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with radiation
  • 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. See Health Professionals Associated With Cancer Care for more on this.

Last Medical Review: 04/29/2014
Last Revised: 01/13/2015