Treating Kidney Disease Vs. Kidney Cancer: Why Treatment Options Are Not All the Same

Posted on: 1 May 2019

There is kidney disease, where kidneys cease to function properly, and there is cancer of one or both kidneys, which can be more lethal than kidney disease. Some overlap occurs in terms of treatment options, but the treatments for both of these kidney health problems are not the same any more than the conditions are. The differences and the treatment options are as follows. 

Kidney Disease and Treatments

Kidney disease is a medical condition whereby both of the kidneys begin to fail. They cannot and will not filter the blood properly, and waste builds up in your blood. You feel sick, are tired, and have headaches, and a lot of swelling in your limbs, face, and trunk occurs. If left untreated, this condition will result in death, because your body will overload on toxins in your blood. 

You can put your name on a kidney transplant list and treat your disease with dialysis. Dialysis treatment has you come into the hospital two to four times a week, insert an IV in your arm, allow a machine to filter all of the toxins in your blood out of the blood, and then circulate your blood back into your body. A single treatment takes several hours in a hospital or clinic, although there is a new option that allows you to self-administer an overnight treatment at home. 

For more information about dialysis treatment options, contact a medical professional.

Kidney Cancer and Treatments

Kidney cancer occurs unilaterally (just one kidney) or bilaterally (both kidneys), unlike kidney disease, which affects both kidneys. With cancer, if your cancer only affects one kidney, you can remove the diseased kidney and monitor the other kidney for signs of cancer. Nothing else really needs to be done unless or until your other kidney shows signs of cancerous cells. 

If you have cancer in both kidneys, you will need an immediate transplant of at least one kidney to survive. You will have to start chemotherapy immediately to prevent the cancer from spreading. If the cancer is not that advanced, you may receive radiation therapy to try to kill the cancerous cells and growths inside or on your kidneys. You will have to remain in the hospital to be monitored if the cancer is in the latter stages or if your oncologist wants to keep you on twenty-four-hour surveillance to monitor any progression of the cancer. They will prepare you for surgery if or when an available kidney is ready for transplantation.