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46

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

:

Kidney Cancer, Version 1.2017

5

Treatment guide

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

patients.

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.

Guide 5

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.

Follow-up tests

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.