Treatment Approaches For Weaker Patients With Kidney Cancer

Health & Medical Blog

Many variables affect treatment decisions in people with kidney cancer. A major factor is the person's current health and which treatments they can tolerate.

There are a few options for kidney cancer treatment

Regular Monitoring

Although it may seem unusual to take a "hands-off" approach to kidney cancer, there may be situations where the best decision is to wait and simply monitor the cancer. Before deciding on this option, the doctor will need to do a biopsy of the kidney tumor. The results of the biopsy will reveal information about the type of tumor. Depending on the specific form of kidney cancer, it may be a type that does not progress rapidly, which would be appropriate to watch. Doctors will use various imaging tests at regular intervals to monitor the tumors. The amount of detail needed will determine whether a CT or MRI is the best option for imaging. At each imaging appointment, the doctor will obtain the measurements of the tumor and compare them to the previous measurements. If the tumor is the same or only grew a tiny amount, waiting can continue.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Generally, surgery for kidney cancer requires an open procedure. This makes surgery not ideal when patients are in a weaker state because the risks associated with surgery might outweigh the benefits. In some instances, minimally invasive surgery might be appropriate. Minimally invasive techniques can be used in cases where the doctor feels a partial nephrectomy is appropriate. For these people, the tumor is smaller and has not affected the entire kidney. The goal is to only remove the tumor and a clear margin, keeping the remainder of the kidney intact. Using minimally invasive techniques is important for people who might not otherwise survive an open surgery. There is less risk of blood loss and infection using this method.

Targeted Therapy And Immunotherapy

Often chemotherapy is not an option for weaker patients because of the toll it takes on the body and makes them more vulnerable to infection. The use of targeted therapy and/or immunotherapy might be the answer. Targeted therapy is used for specific types of kidney cancer. The doctor will want to take a sample of the cancer and have it tested for specific targets. The tumor may have certain proteins or receptors that can be targeted with medication. Medications that affect the targets can stop or slow tumor growth. Immunotherapy can encourage the patient's immune system to attack cancer cells. These medications are often the last line of defense for people with late-stage kidney cancer who have no other options.

Fortunately, there is a wide range of treatment options that can be effective for kidney cancer, however, not everyone can take them. In instances where a patient is weak, either from cancer or other illnesses, balancing treatment approaches with risks is critical for survival.


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