Kidney cancer is called advanced if it has spread to another part of the body. This is also called a secondary cancer or metastasis.
Your cancer may be advanced when you're first diagnosed. Or it may come back or spread some time after treatment.
Not all cancers spread. Aches and pains may not be caused by your cancer. But do check with your doctor about any symptom that's worrying you.
Where kidney cancer spreads
Kidney cancer can spread to the:
- tissues or organs close to the kidney, like the bowel
- other kidney
Decisions about your treatment
Which treatment is best for you depends on:
- the size of the cancer and where it is
- where the cancer has spread to
- the treatment you have already had
- your general health
It’s important you find out:
- whether treatments have side effects that affect your quality of life
- what the treatment involves, such as travelling back and forth to the hospital
- what happens if you decide not to have treatment
The doctor will explain what your treatment options can achieve and how they may affect you.
You may also want to talk things over with a close friend or family member. Or there may be a counsellor you can discuss your feelings with.
The main treatments
Local treatment such as surgery or radiotherapy may be best if you have only one area of cancer spread. Targeted cancer drugs might be a better option if the cancer is in more than one area.
It may not help to repeat a type of treatment you've had before. And it is not usually possible to give more radiotherapy to an area that has already been treated.
Many people want to know what the outlook is and how their cancer will develop. This is different for each person. Your cancer specialist has all the information about you and your cancer. They're the best person to discuss this with.
You can also talk to your specialist nurse.