NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Kidney Cancer, Version 1.2017
Stage I kidney cancer
Imaging tests of your chest are used to check
if the cancer has spread to your lungs. Imaging
tests of your pelvis, head, spine, or bones are not
recommended as standard follow-up tests for all
These tests may be done as needed such as to
check out certain signs or symptoms. Imaging tests
of your head or spine may be done to show if cancer
has spread to your brain. Some symptoms of cancer
in the brain are chronic headaches, seizures, loss
of balance, and weakness on one side of the body.
If you have bone pain or high levels of ALP in your
blood, then a bone scan may be done to show if
cancer has spread to your bones.
How often tests are done may change over time.
This may be due to changes in the tumor growth rate
or other factors. If the tumor grows more slowly or
not at all, then tests may be done less often. If the
tumor grows faster, then tests may be done more
often. If the tumor keeps growing larger or faster,
then treatment may be needed. But, these decisions
must be made on an individual basis.
shows the follow-up tests that are
recommended after treatment for stage I kidney
cancer. Doctors use follow-up tests to monitor
your health and to look for signs of cancer return
or spread (metastasis) after treatment. The return
of cancer after treatment is called a relapse or
recurrence. Follow-up tests are also used to check
your kidney function and watch for treatment side
effects. Many of the tests used for diagnosis and
staging are repeated during follow-up.
No single follow-up plan is right for all patients.
Your doctor will adjust the follow-up plan based on
a number of factors specific to you and the tumor.
Some key factors are the type of treatment you had,
the size and extent of the tumor, and your overall
health. You may need more or less frequent testing
than someone else. The timing and duration of
follow-up testing should be based on the chance
(risk) of recurrence and other factors specific to you.
Follow-up testing may be extended beyond five years
as your doctor sees fit.
You will have a number of different tests to monitor
your health after surgery. Medical history check-
ups and physical exams will tell your doctor about
your general health. Blood tests will also show if
your organs, such as your liver and kidneys, are
working well. Your doctor will take a medical history,
do a physical exam, order blood tests, and imaging
regularly for up to 5 years after your nephrectomy.
The timing of these tests is based on guidelines and
your medical needs.
Imaging tests of your abdomen are used to check
for signs of local recurrence. A local recurrence is
when cancer comes back in or near the same place
as the primary tumor. A baseline imaging test of your
abdomen should be done within 3 to 12 months after
a partial or radical nephrectomy. A baseline test is a
starting point to which future tests are compared.