Treatment for early kidney cancer
Early kidney cancer (stage 1 or 2) is localised. That means the cancer is found in the kidney only or has not spread very far.
The main treatment is surgery. Less often, radiofrequency ablation, cryotherapy and stereotactic body radiation therapy are used. Sometimes the best approach for early kidney cancer is to watch the cancer over time (active surveillance).
What to do before treatment
If you are a current smoker, your health care team will advise you to stop smoking before you start treatment. To work out a plan for quitting, talk to your doctor or contact Quitline on 13 7848.
Learn more about:
- Making treatment decisions
- Active surveillance
- Other treatments
- Treatment for advanced kidney cancer
Also known as observation, active surveillance is a way of monitoring kidney cancer. The aim is to avoid affecting how your kidney works and other side effects you may experience if you have surgery. It may be suggested if the tumour is less than 4 cm in diameter. Active surveillance might also be an option if you are not well enough for surgery and the tumours are small, or if you are older.
Choosing active surveillance avoids treatment side effects, but you might feel anxious about having a cancer diagnosis without active treatment. Talk to your doctors about ways to manage any worries.
Podcast: Making Treatment Decisions
A/Prof Daniel Moon, Urologic Surgeon, Australian Urology Associates, and Honorary Clinical Associate Professor, The University of Melbourne, VIC; Polly Baldwin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Ian Basey, Consumer; Gregory Bock, Urology Cancer Nurse Coordinator, WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network, North Metropolitan Health Service, WA; Tina Forshaw, Advanced Practice Nurse Urology, Canberra Health Services, ACT; Dr Suki Gill, Radiation Oncologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Karen Walsh, Nurse Practitioner, Urology Services, St Vincents Private Hospital Northside, QLD; Dr Alison Zhang, Medical Oncologist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and Macquarie University Hospital, NSW.
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