Being diagnosed with kidney cancer is alarming, but there are many treatments available, from surgery to cryotherapy. This short guide aims to explain these treatments in more detail and to give an overview of how the illness is treated.
By far the most common treatment for kidney cancer is surgery to remove all or part of your affected kidney. This surgery is known as a nephrectomy. The National Kidney Foundation describes how the procedure takes place and what is actually removed during the surgery. Your specialist will be able to explain more and will let you know what you can expect from your recovery. If you have one remaining healthy kidney, you will be able to live a normal life and will not need a transplant or dialysis. Sometimes, when cancer has not spread outside the affected kidney, further kidney cancer treatment will not be required.
Cryotherapy is simply the use of extreme cold to treat a medical condition; in short, it works by freezing your cancer to kill cancer cells or prevent growths. It is typically only recommended for small, early-stage kidney cancer. As the NHS explains, the procedure involves a needle, which has been frozen to a temperature below freezing, being injected directly into the tumour. You may need numerous treatments of this kind, and it may be combined with other treatments for maximum effectiveness.
Radiofrequency treatment sounds like radiotherapy, but the way it works is different. It is actually more similar to cryotherapy, but it uses heat rather than cold to treat kidney cancer. As Radiology Info explains, it involves a needle put through the skin directly into the tumour, which creates heat to destroy cancer cells. It does not involve any large cuts or incisions and is therefore minimally invasive and suitable for those who cannot have surgery or those who only have one working kidney.
Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy
Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are probably the two most well-known cancer treatments, but they are not often used to treat kidney cancer. However, if your cancer is advanced, they may be offered as a part of your treatment: your doctor will explain this to you if they feel it is appropriate. You might also be offered other biological treatments, which are not actually chemotherapy and are intended to stop your cancer from growing. Cancer Research explains in detail the full range of biological treatments that are used to treat kidney cancer. If you have questions about a specific drug, your specialist will be able to explain.
As described above, there are several kidney cancer treatments available, and which suits you depends on your general health and the stage and severity of your cancer. If you have questions about your treatments, your specialist will be able to explain treatments in more detail with regard to your specific condition.