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Treatment for kidney cancer depends on what stage the cancer is at, whether cancer has spread, your age, your overall health, and your personal preference. The most common treatment for this disease is surgery to remove part or all of the kidney. In advanced cases, treatment with a drug may also be used to treat kidney cancer.
There are two types of surgery to treat kidney cancer: surgery to remove the entire kidney (nephrectomy) and surgery to remove the part of the kidney that contains cancer (partial nephrectomy), both are performed under general anesthetic. For small tumors, your doctor may recommend cryoablation (treatment to freeze cancer cells to kill it) and radiofrequency ablation (treatment to burn cancer cells to kill it). If your kidney cancer is at an advanced stage, a drug may be used instead of surgery, such as immunotherapy (uses your own immune system to fight cancer cells), anti-angiogenic therapies (reduce the blood supply to the tumor to slow or stop the tumor’s growth), and targeted therapies (directly inhibit the growth of cancer).
Your length of stay in Brazil depends on which procedure you underwent. In general, you will need to stay in the hospital for 2 to 7 days and you need to plan to stay in the country for 7 to 14 additional days after surgery. If you only undergo therapy, your length of stay depends on how many cycles are needed for your specific condition.
The total recovery time until you can go back to your normal routine and perform strenuous activities or heavy lifting may take about 6 weeks, but you may be able to return to work within 4 weeks if your job is not physically demanding.
Your surgeon will give you detailed instructions to help your recovery, which may include exercises, restrictions, wound care, and diet. You may need to attend regular checkups with your local doctor to monitor your condition. It is really important to eat well and get good nutrition during and after cancer treatment to avoid weight loss and to regain strength.
The success rate for kidney cancer treatment depends largely on the stage of cancer and how early the treatment is received. The success rate can range from 69% to 93%. There are some side effects and risks that you should be aware of, such as infection, bleeding, damage to other organs, indigestion, hypertension, tiredness, diarrhea, infertility, rash, and shortness of breath.
If you have a small tumor or you are too frail for treatment, your doctor may recommend ‘active surveillance,’ which means your tumor is closely watched to see if it grows.
Kidney cancer is life-threatening, can spread to other organs, and cause painful symptoms. After successful treatment, the symptoms are relieved and you can get back to a normal life. Living with one kidney may sound frightening, but most people can live just fine and their quality of life is not affected.
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