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Prognosis for Kidney Cancer Patients

written by: Ms Lisa • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 1/16/2011

Kidney cancer is a very serious diagnosis. Let us discuss how a kidney cancer prognosis is determined and factors that may affect the outcome.

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    Understanding the Fundamentals of a Prognosis

    Like most cancers, when a person is told that they have kidney cancer, the diagnosis is frightening to hear. They of course want to know what the kidney cancer prognosis is, and what treatment options are available.

    Let us examine some key points that need to be considered so that we can get a better understanding of prognosis and how they are determined. This may be less complicated to explain by defining what a prognosis is.

    A prognosis is an idea of what the outcome of an illness or disease can or will be. It is a tool used by the medical community to communicate to a person what to expect in the future of the person’s illness whether they seek treatment or not in their condition that have been diagnosed. It is also a tool used to guide a patient in the direction of what treatments to consider.

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    Who is Best to Determine the Prognosis?

    The physician who is in charge of the person’s medical care is in the best position to give the patient a prognosis. The doctor may ask for a consult with other physicians to help determine what the prognosis can or will be.

    It is important to understand that not even the doctor can tell with perfection what the exact prognosis will be with kidney cancer unless the patient is obviously in the last stages of the disease. This is because the prognosis may change due to certain factors such as if the kidney cancer progresses or if a treatment is successful or not.

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    What is the Prognosis for Kidney Cancer?

    According to the Merck Manual, there are many factors to consider that affect a prognosis. However, the 5-year survival rate is 85% or more when the cancer is confined to the kidney. The survival rate differs if the cancer has spread to the vena cava or the renal vein but has not yet spread to distant areas of the body. In this instant, the 5-year survival rate drops to 35 to 60%. When the cancer has spread to other distant sites of the body, the 5-year survival rate drops to 10%.

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    What Factors Determine the Prognosis?

    Another factor to consider in the kidney cancer prognosis is that the condition can change depending on how the patient responds to treatment. The general health and age of the person is also important to keep into consideration when determining the prognosis outcome.

    It is important to remember that all patients are different and their bodies may respond differently to treatments that are offered to kidney patients today. The physician can guide and inform the person if progress is made during treatment. The doctor can offer statistics of recovery or what each treatment has to offer.

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    For Additional Information

    For additional information on kidney cancer, you can call 1-800-4-Cancer. This phone number will get you in touch with the National Cancer institute (NCI) and Cancer Information Service (CIS).