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What Questions Should I Ask My Health Care Provider?

  • Do I have kidney cancer or something else?
  • What is the stage and grade of my cancer and what does that mean?
  • Has it spread anywhere else?
  • Do I need other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • What are my treatment options? Which do you recommend and why?
  • What are the chances my cancer can be cured?
  • What are the chances that my cancer will return after treatment?
  • What risks or side effects should I expect from treatment? For how long?
  • What should I do to prepare for treatment? What will it be like?
  • What will we do if the treatment doesn’t work?
  • Can you recommend another urologist for a second opinion?
  • Is there anything I can do to protect my health from here?
  • How often will I need to have checkups after treatment?

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I have a biopsy of the tumor?

For kidney tumors, biopsy is usually not helpful. This is because most biopsies have a risk of inaccurate results. Most often, the doctor will choose to remove the tumor without performing a biopsy. It may be done if other tests suggest that the lesion is from infection, swelling or a different type of cancer.

Does the adrenal gland need to be removed along with the kidney?

If the adrenal gland appears to contain a tumor, then it is removed. Otherwise, a surgeon will try to preserve the adrenal gland while removing the kidney tumor. If one must be removed, a person can live a normal life with only one adrenal gland.

Do I need any additional treatment after surgery?

When the tumor is not cancerous, no additional treatment is needed. When the tumor is cancer, the surgery often serves as adequate treatment. If the cancer has metastasized you most likely will need further treatment once recovered from surgery.

Can I live a normal life with one kidney?

Yes, most people can live a normal life with one working kidney. Even in cases when the remaining kidney is not 100% functional, people can still live a normal life. Dialysis is rarely necessary.

What can I do to prevent the return of kidney cancer?

There are no proven ways to prevent cancer from returning. Still, avoiding risks will help. For example, stop smoking. It is extremely important to follow up with your doctor on a regular basis.