How Do Doctors Treat Kidney Cancer?
Kidney cancer is a disease that starts in the kidneys. The two main types of kidney cancer are renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and urothelial cell carcinoma (UCC). Both require treatment, even at the earliest stages.
There are several different treatment options for stage 1 kidney cancer, depending on the type of kidney cancer you have. These are some of the treatment options your doctor might consider.
Removing Part of the Kidney
For most people with RCC, the cancerous tumor can be removed surgically without having to remove the entire kidney. This is called a partial nephrectomy. It may be a good option if your cancer has not spread.
The main goal of this surgery is to remove the tumor while preserving as much normal kidney tissue as possible. This can be done through traditional open surgery or laparoscopic surgery, which uses small incisions and special instruments.
Removing the Entire Kidney
In some cases, the entire kidney needs to be removed. This is called a radical nephrectomy.
A radical nephrectomy is sometimes necessary if the tumor is very large, or if it has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other organs.
Targeted Therapy Drugs
For people with UCC, targeted therapy drugs are often used. Targeted therapy drugs work by targeting the specific genes, proteins, or tissue that contribute to cancer growth and survival.
These drugs can be given intravenously or via pill. The doctor will determine which option is best for you and your stage of cancer.
Immunotherapy drugs are also used to treat kidney disease. These drugs work by helping the immune system fight cancer cells.
There are several different types of immunotherapy drugs. For instance, a checkpoint inhibitor works by allowing the immune system to better fight cancer cells.
Many people like these drugs because they often have fewer side effects than other types of cancer treatments.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. It can be given externally, from a machine outside the body, or internally, through implants placed directly into the tumor.
Radiation therapy is sometimes used to shrink the tumor before surgery, or it can be given after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Talk to Your Doctor About Stage 1 Kidney Cancer Treatment
Treatment for kidney cancer can be difficult. It's important to talk to your doctor about all your treatment options so you can make the best decisions for your body.