Renal Cell Cancer (cont.)
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Treatment of renal cell cancer depends on the stage of the disease and the person's overall health, which determines how well that person is able to tolerate various therapies. A medical team will devise a treatment plan that is tailored specifically for the individual. Therapies that are used for renal cell cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, biological therapy, hormone therapy, targeted agents, and radiation therapy. Historical trials of conventional chemotherapy and hormonal therapies have proved ineffective. Clinical trials (tests of new medicines) may be appropriate for some patients with kidney cancer. A person may undergo a single therapy or a combination of therapies.
Generally, surgery is the best treatment for renal cell cancer that has not metastasized. For more information, see Surgery.
Chemotherapy is the use of strong drugs to kill cancer cells.
Hormone therapy involves taking a hormone to kill cancer cells. Several different hormone preparations have been tried in renal cell cancer in the past, but these agents are less effective than targeted chemotherapy and are no longer used frequently. Provera was a hormonal treatment used in the past, either as a pill or a long-lasting or Depot injection.
Biological therapy, sometimes called immunotherapy, tries to boost the body's own immune system to fight and kill the cancer, by using substances made naturally by the body. These substances are copied in a laboratory and injected into the body.
Radiation therapy uses a high-energy radiation beam to kill cancer cells. Renal cell cancers typically are somewhat resistant to radiation. Some people undergo radiation therapy to the area where the kidney was after surgery to kill tumor cells that remain. Radiation therapy is often used to relieve symptoms in persons with metastatic disease or who cannot undergo surgery because of other medical conditions.
Because metastatic renal cell cancer is largely incurable with currently available forms of systemic therapy, patients with metastatic renal cell cancer are encouraged to discuss innovative clinical trials with their physicians before making a final decision.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/14/2015
Kush Sachdeva, MD
Brendan Curti, MD
Winston W Tan, MD
Mary L Windle, PharmD
Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP
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