This section offers further information on the various treatments that are currently used to treat advanced kidney cancer.

My kidney cancer has spread to other parts of the body: what treatment could I take?

In people with advanced kidney cancer, where the cancer has spread to distant organs, the cancer is usually not completely curable. The goal of treatment is therefore to make life as long and as normal as possible.

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Targeted therapies

Anti-cancer medications (medication to treat the cancer) aim to reduce symptoms and prolong life. They might kill cancer cells, stop or slow down tumour growth, or shrink tumours.

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Immuno-Oncology

Immuno-oncology (IO) therapy is a new (and old) way to treat cancer by activating your immune system in the hope that it will attack your tumour.

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Palliative care

At all stages of your cancer treatment you need to feel as well as possible. This can be achieved through palliative care. Palliative care focuses on improving quality of life for you and your family.

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Making a decision about your treatment

One way to think about the different treatments available is to imagine a toolbox full of different tools. Each tool (treatment) is designed to do a specific job. You and your healthcare team will gather as much information about your situation as possible to make sure you choose the right tool (treatment) for the job at the right time. Your healthcare
team should help you find all the information you need to make the right decision for you.

You may want to contact your patient support organisation to get up-to-date information before making your decision. You may find it useful to talk about your situation with other kidney cancer patients who have faced a similar situation. They may be willing to share their experiences with you.

You can call on other types of support from your healthcare team to help you manage the disease on a day-to-day basis, such as supportive and palliative care. If your healthcare system doesn’t provide this option, contact your patient support organisation for advice; they will usually know the best way to access these support services.

You may need to discuss with your healthcare professional which treatment options or ‘tools’ are suitable and available to you at your hospital, or those you might need to travel for. You may need a combination of treatments, or you may decide to have none at all. It is important to discuss these issues with your family and your healthcare team. Make sure you have sufficient information to be able to make an informed decision. Always ask for additional information if you feel you need it.

For further information please refer to our Decision aid “My treatment, my choice”

Evidence-based guidelines

Patient advocates often use treatment guidelines to help patients advocate for best quality of standards of care. Many of the global guidelines for kidney cancer are listed below.

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Factsheet: Advanced kidney cancer
Factsheet: Treatments for advanced kidney cancer
Infographic: Understanding IMDC criteria

Infographic “Understanding IMDC criteria for metastatic RCC” for download in English, German and French.

View/download infographic

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