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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Kidney Cancer, Version 1.2017


Overview of cancer treatments

Supportive care

As a kidney tumor grows larger, it can cause severe

symptoms such as pain and blood in the urine.

Surgery to remove the kidney may be used to relieve

these symptoms. This surgery is called a palliative


Palliative surgery may be used to treat problems

caused by cancer that has spread to your bones.

Such problems may include bone pain, bone

fractures, and spinal cord compression.

Stress and symptom control

Cancer and its treatments can cause bothersome

symptoms. The stress of having cancer can also

cause symptoms. There are ways to treat many

symptoms, so tell your treatment team about any that

you have.

You may lose sleep before, during, and after

treatment. Getting less sleep can affect your

mood, conversations, and ability to do daily tasks.

If possible, allow yourself to rest, let people do

things for you, and talk with your doctor about sleep

medication. Behavioral sleep medicine—a type of

talk therapy—may also help.

Feelings of anxiety and depression are common

among people with cancer. At your cancer center,

cancer navigators, social workers, and other experts

can help. Help can include support groups, talk

therapy, or medication. Some people also feel better

by exercising, talking with loved ones, or relaxing.

You may be unemployed or miss work during

treatment. Or, you may have too little or no health

insurance. Talk to your treatment team about work,

insurance, or money problems. They will include

information in the treatment plan to help you manage

your finances and medical costs.

Survivorship care

Cancer survivorship begins on the day you learn of

having kidney cancer. For many survivors, the end of

active treatment signals a time of celebration but also

of great anxiety. This is a very normal response. You

may need support to address issues that arise from

not having regular visits with your cancer care team.

In addition, your treatment plan should include a

schedule of follow-up cancer tests, treatment of long-

term side effects, and care of your general health.

Advance care planning

Talking with your doctor about your prognosis can

help with treatment planning. If the cancer can’t be

controlled or cured, a care plan for the end of life can

be made. However, such talks often happen too late

or not at all. Your doctor may delay these talks for

fear that you may lose hope, become depressed, or

have a shorter survival. Studies suggest that these

fears are wrong. Instead, there are many benefits to

advance care planning. It is useful for:



Knowing what to expect



Making the most of your time



Lowering the stress of caregivers



Having your wishes followed



Having a better quality of life



Getting good care

Advance care planning starts with an honest talk

between you and your doctors. You don’t have

to know the exact details of your prognosis. Just

having a general idea will help with planning. With

this information, you can decide at what point you’d

want to stop cancer treatments, if at all. You can

also decide what treatments you’d want for symptom

relief, such as radiation therapy, surgery, or medicine.