Kidney Cancer: Treatment for Stage 4 (Metastatic)


Welcome to our treatment for
metastatic stage 4 kidney
cancer quick guide. Cancer treatments can be
divided into two types:
localized and systemic. Surgery and radiation
are localized treatments. They remove or kill the cancer
cells in or near the kidney. Chemotherapy, targeted
therapy and immunotherapy
are systemic treatments. They kill cancer cells that
might be anywhere in the body. About 16 percent (16 out
of 100) people with kidney
cancer are diagnosed … … after their cancer has
already spread, or metastasized
to other parts of their body. This is called stage IV
kidney cancer. In other cases, the
cancer recurs, or comes
back, as metastatic after
initial treatment. In some rare cases, if you
have not previously had surgery
and only have a few
metastatic spots, … … your doctor may
recommend that you have
the kidney removed … …along with any
metastases that are
near the kidney. Whether or not you have
surgery, your doctor will
recommend a systemic treatment. Targeted therapies and
immunotherapies are used to
treat metastatic kidney cancer. Your doctor may
recommend one drug, or
a combination of drugs. Targeted therapies can be given
as pills you take by mouth or
as an IV into your vein. Some targeted therapies work by
blocking the growth of the new
blood vessels tumors need to
grow and survive. Others target specific proteins
that help tumors grow. Immunotherapies are given
as an IV into your vein. These drugs help your
immune system see
and kill cancer cells. Every drug used to treat
kidney cancer has its own
specific side effects. Ask your health care team about
which side effects you should
let them know about right away. Common side effects of
targeted therapy include: · skin rashes · tiredness · nausea · diarrhea · mouth sores · pain and swelling in
the hands and feet and · high blood pressure Immunotherapy drugs work by
getting your immune system
to kill cancer cells. These treatments are
given as infusions. Common side effects can include: · Flu-like symptoms (like
fever, chills, headache,
nausea, and cough) · Fatigue (feeling tired) · Skin problems like rashes,
redness, or itching, and · Muscle or joint pain Less often, the side effects
may be severe or even
life-threatening. Ask your doctor about what
you need to watch out for. Tell your health care team
immediately if you have: · Diarrhea · Problems breathing · Eye problems · Stomach pain, cramping,
nausea, vomiting · Fever · Sudden changes in energy
or severe weakness · Headaches · Chest pain · Decreased urination
(peeing less) · Problems thinking or
remembering things If caught early, these more
severe side effects can often
be managed with steriods. You can learn more about
immunotherapy on the Cancer
Support Community’s website: www.CancerSupportCommunity.org
/immunotherapy A risk stratification tool has
been developed to help doctors
determine treatment options in
patients with metastatic
kidney cancer. One widely used tool, called
the IMDC, looks at whether or
not you have these risk factors: 1. a low red blood cell
count, or anemia 2. a high white blood cell
count, or neutrophilia 3. an elevated platelet count,
or thrombocytosis 4. high calcium levels
or hypercalcemia 5. difficulty taking part in
daily activities, and 6. it’s been less than a year
since your kidney cancer
diagnosis or initial
stage 4 (IV) diagnosis The IMDC is scored like this: · 0 factors:
good-risk category · 1 or 2 factors:
intermediate-risk category · 3 or more factors:
poor-risk category. The score helps your doctor
determine if the risk of
symptoms and side effects
outweighs possible benefits
from treatment. Your treatment options may
also include clinical trials. There are currently about 200
clinical trials taking place in
the U.S. that are enrolling
kidney cancer patients. Some are only open to patients
with stage IV kidney cancer. Others are for early-stage
kidney cancer patients. You can: · Ask your doctor if there
are clinical trials that
are right for you · Go to our Resources from the
“Quick Guide on Kidney Cancer”
at www.CancerSupportCommunity
.org/kidney-cancer · Learn more about cancer
clinical trials on the
Cancer Support Community’s
website: www.CancerSupportCommunity.org
/ClinicalTrials As a kidney cancer survivor,
you will want to: · Be prepared: Keep copies
of all medical records and
insurance payments. · Know about the short-
and long-term side effects
that you may experience
following treatment. · Learn what symptoms to be
aware of that may suggest your
kidney cancer has returned. · Learn what symptoms to
be aware of that suggest
your kidney function
has been impaired. · Know if or how often you
should see a nephrologist, an
expert in diagnosing and
managing diseases that affect
how the kidneys function. Taking steps to improve
your overall health, can
help all cancer patients. You will want to:
· Eat a healthy diet. · Get regular exercise. · Stop smoking. · Maintain or try to get
to a healthy weight. · Limit how much
alcohol you drink. · Have access to resources
for emotional support. Learn more about finding
support on the Cancer Support
Community website: www.CancerSupportCommunity.org
/find-support If you would like to learn
about treatment for kidney
cancer in stages 1, 2 & 3, … … as well as the surgical
treatment of kidney cancer, … … watch our ‘Treatment for
Stage 1, 2, & 3 Kidney
Cancer’ Quick Guide.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *