What Are the Treatment Options for Early Kidney Cancer?
As with most types of cancer, the earlier that kidney cancer is diagnosed, the better chance there is of being able to treat the disease effectively and survive it. For stage 1 kidney cancer, the symptoms a person should see a doctor about are blood in the urine, a pain in your side that doesn't go away, weight loss, loss of appetite and fatigue. If you experience any of these, see a doctor right away.
Once a diagnosis of kidney cancer is established, it's necessary to more forward with treatment, and in stage 1 of kidney cancer, this typically means surgery. You will either need to have a small portion of a kidney removed, which is called partial nephrectomy, or you will need a whole kidney removed, which is called radical nephrectomy. The choice of surgery is purely based on the size of the tumour.
The surgery will be done in a hospital under general anaesthetic, and there are two main methods through which this surgery can be accomplished.
- Open surgery. This is when a cut is made in the side of your abdomen in order to access the kidney that needs to be removed.
- Keyhole surgery. This is a different type of surgery, in which a series of small cuts are placed on the side of the abdomen. A tiny camera is inserted through one of the cuts, and the images are projected onto a screen in the operating theatre. Tools are inserted through other cuts to remove the cancerous tumour.
Because keyhole surgery is not as invasive, patients tend to have a shorter period in hospital and a quicker recovery time, but you should talk with your doctor about which particular kidney cancer treatment would be best for you.
You will most likely be in hospital for at least a few days following surgery. During this time, your medications will be supplied to you via an intravenous drip, and other tubes will be attached so that waste materials can also be drained away. You are likely to have some pain at the site where incisions were made, and some kind of pain relief medicine is often supplied to avoid any discomfort.
It can be a good idea to see a physiotherapist in and out of hospital to make sure that you are moving in ways that promote healing while not over-exerting yourself. It will be a number of weeks following surgery before you can get back to normal activity.
Contact a doctor to learn more about your options for kidney cancer treatment.