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Renal Cancer, Ambulatory Care

Renal cancer

begins in the kidney or ureters. The ureters are the tubes that connect your kidneys to your bladder. Urine is made in the kidneys, collects in the bladder, and is emptied from your body through your urethra.


Common symptoms include the following:

  • Pink, red, or brown urine
  • Abdominal pain or pain in your side
  • Muscle pain or weakness
  • A lump or growth in your abdomen or side
  • Swollen lymph nodes in your armpit, neck, or groin
  • Swollen legs or feet, or swelling in your scrotum
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Fatigue, fever, or night sweats

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Warm, tender, swollen, red, and painful arm or leg
  • Pain or discomfort in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
  • Discomfort in your chest that feels like squeezing, pressure, fullness, or pain
  • Feeling lightheaded or short of breath

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Pain does not go away after you take pain medicine
  • Not able to urinate
  • Severe fatigue or confusion

Treatment for renal cancer

may include any of the following:

  • Surgery is the main treatment for renal cancer. Your surgeon may remove your entire kidney or only the part where the tumor is found. Surgery may be done through small incisions with a tool called a laparoscope. You may have open surgery instead of laparoscopic surgery. This is the removal of your kidney through a large incision. Your surgeon may also remove lymph nodes or other tissues that contain cancer cells.
  • Procedures may be used to kill the cancer cells. Cryosurgery is a procedure used to freeze the cancer cells with liquid nitrogen or liquid carbon dioxide. Radiofrequency ablation delivers radio waves to heat and kill the tumor.
  • Targeted therapy is medicine given to target and kill cancer cells. It may shrink a kidney tumor or slow its growth.
  • Immune therapy medicine helps your immune system fight the cancer cells and slow their growth.

Manage your renal cancer:

  • Do not smoke. Smoking increases your risk for new or returning cancer. Smoking can also delay healing after treatment. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help quitting.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol can damage your kidneys.
  • Drink liquids as directed. Liquids will help prevent constipation and fluid loss caused by vomiting or diarrhea. Liquids can also help remove extra fluid buildup and relieve swelling. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Eat healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you eat less red meat. You need to eat enough calories to prevent weight loss and energy loss caused by cancer treatment. You also need protein to give you strength. If you do not feel hungry, eat small amounts often instead of large meals.
  • Exercise as directed. Exercise can increase your energy level and appetite. Ask your healthcare provider how much exercise you need and which exercises are best for you.

Follow up with your urologist or oncologist as directed:

You will need to see your urologist or oncologist for treatment or tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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