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Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer is the ninth common cancer that occurs in men and the fourteenth common cancer in women. 

Detection of cancer itself is a matter of great concern. However, with the advancement of technologies both in detection and treatment, the survival rates are also increasing. 

Let me introduce you, one of our patients Becky from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Becky is a 48-year-old, project manager in a reputed MNC in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Backy is a father of 2 boys and a wonderful wife Lucy. 

Three years back, Becky used to often felt tired while doing his daily routine work and also had lower back pain on one side. Becky went to the nearby doctor for a checkup and the doctor prescribed him some medicine and asked him to take some rest. Medicine lowered the pain but after some time the condition became the same. 

One day Becky saw blood was coming out while he was urinating. He went to the hospital and met a urologist. The Urologist suggested doing a blood test, urine test, and ultrasound. Ultrasound reports detected an unusual lump in the kidney. The doctor suggested CT scan to Becky for further verification. Becky did the test and sadly, the tests confirmed that he had kidney cancer.

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Young adult female cancer patient spending time with her daughter at home, relaxing on the couch. Cancer and family support concept.

Becky and Lucy were both in shock after listening to the news of cancer. The doctor recommended visiting an oncologist for a further line of treatment. Becky’s son Benny researched information regarding kidney cancer and the best possible treatment for it. While searching Benny got in touch with MedicoExperts and left his inquiry.

MedicoExperts patient care executive got in touch with Benny and Benny sent all the reports of his father to MedicoExperts to get the personalized treatment plan. 

MedicoExperts also arranged the online video consultation for Becky with the head of the tumor board who is himself an uro oncologist. The doctor after discussing with his board prepared a tentative treatment plan and had one more call with Becky. The doctor explained the treatment plan and also shared that Becky would go under thorough evaluation before zeroing down the treatment plan. Becky decided to come to India for the treatment.

After 15 days, Becky comes to India for treatment with his wife Lucy. Becky was admitted to the hospital immediately after arrival. As planned, a thorough evaluation including PET SCAN was performed. The investigations concluded that cancer was limited to the kidney only. Surgery was needed to remove the kidney. The doctor told Becky three options for the surgery that was open, laparoscopic, and robotic surgery. After understanding all the options, Becky chose robotic surgery.

Surgery was performed and the infected kidney was removed successfully. The doctor also recommended a few cycles of chemotherapy after the surgery.

After completion of Chemotherapy,  reevaluation was performed. The results were positive in favor of Becky.  

Becky and Lucy were very happy with the outcome and thanked the doctors and MedicoExperts.

It could be your story as well.

Before understanding the different kidney cancer treatment options. Let’s understand what kidney cancer is.

kidney-cancer-treatment-in-india

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What is kidney cancer?

Kidney cancer occurs within the cells of your kidneys. Your kidneys are two bean bag-like organs, each the size of your fist.

They are located behind your abdominal organs, with a kidney on either side of your spinal column.

kidney-cancer
types of kidney cancer

What are the different types of kidney cancer?

Kidney cancer is more common in adults and accounts for approximately 85% of the cases. This kind of cancer develops in the proximal renal tubules which constitute the filtration system of the kidney. Each kidney has thousands of those tiny filtration units. 

Kidney Cancer types are:

  • Urothelial cancer: This is also referred to as transient cellular carcinoma. It makes up 5-10% of kidney cancers diagnosed in adults. Urothelial carcinoma starts in the region of the kidney where urine gets collected.
  • Sarcoma: Kidney sarcoma is a rare condition. It is normally treated by surgery. However, sarcoma usually returns to the renal area or propagates to other parts of the body. Another surgical procedure or chemotherapy may be recommended following the initial surgery.
  • Wilms tumor: Wilms tumor is better treated with radiation and chemo than other types of kidney cancer in conjunction with surgery. The outcome was a different approach to treatment.
  • Lymphoma: Lymphoma can enlarge both kidneys and is associated with large lymph nodes, known as lymph node disease, in other parts of the body, including the neck, chest, and abdominal cavity. If lymphoma is a possibility, your physician can do a biopsy and suggest chemo instead of surgery.

Let’s understand the stages of kidney cancer.

What are the different stages of kidney cancer?

stages of Kidney-cancer

Stage 1 is the lowest level of aggression and has the highest survival rate. The cancer tumor is relatively small at the early stage, so it is given a T1 designation.  

At stage 1, the cancerous kidney is likely to be removed, and follow-up treatment may not be needed. The odds of recovery are good.

Stage 1 kidney cancer survival rate

The five-year survival rate for stage one kidney cancer is 81 percent. This means that out of 100 people, 81 people diagnosed with stage 1 kidney cancer will live more than five years after their initial diagnosis.

Stage 2 is more severe than Stage 1. In this stage, the tumor is larger than seven centimeters in diameter but occurs only in the kidney.

Stage 2 kidney cancer survival rate

As with stage 1, a stage 2 cancer kidney is likely to be removed and follow-up treatment may not be required. The five-year survival rate of stage 2 kidney cancer is 74 percent. This means that 74 out of 100 people diagnosed with stage 2 kidney cancer will live more than five years after diagnosis.

There are two scenarios for third-stage renal cancer.

In the first scenario, the tumor became a major vein and a neighboring tissue but did not reach the neighboring lymph nodes.

 In the second scenario, the tumor may be of any size and may occur outside the kidney. In this case, the cancer cells also invaded the adjacent lymph nodes but did not proceed further.

Stage 3 kidney cancer survival rate

In both cases, the therapy will be aggressive. If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, they can be removed surgically. The five-year survival rate for stage 3 renal cancer is 53 percent. This means that 53 of every 100 people diagnosed with stage 3 kidney cancer will live another five years or more after they are diagnosed.

It can also be divided into two categories.

In the first, the tumor enlarged and reached the tissue beyond the kidney. It may have propagated to nearby lymph nodes, but it still has no metastases.

In the second, the tumor may be of any size, maybe in the lymph nodes, and has metastasized to other organs

Stage 4 kidney cancer survival rate

The five-year survival rate at this point drops to eight percent. This means that 8 out of 100 people diagnosed with stage 4 cancer will live another five years after they are diagnosed.

symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Cancer

Early renal cancers usually cause no signs or symptoms, but larger ones can. Potential signs and symptoms for kidney cancer include:

  • Blood in urine
  • Back pain on one side
  • A lump on the side or bottom of the back.
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Weight loss
  • Fever is not due to infection and does not go away.
  • Anemia
kidney cancer risk factors

Causes

What causes kidney cancer?

The following factors have the potential to increase the risk of kidney cancer:

  • Old age
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney failure treatment
  • Some hereditary syndromes.
  • Family history of kidney cancer.

diagnosis

How to diagnose kidney cancer?

If you have any signs/symptoms that indicate you may have kidney cancer, your doctor will want to take your comprehensive medical record to check the risk factors.

Kidney cancer cannot be diagnosed with a blood test. A complete blood count (CBC) and blood chemistry test, on the other hand, can reveal blood signs linked to kidney cancer. Consider the following scenario:

  • There aren’t enough red blood cells. Anemia is the medical term for this condition. It’s found in a variety of cancers.
  • There are too many red blood cells in the body. Erythrocytosis, or polycythemia, is the medical term for this condition. Erythropoietin is a hormone produced by some types of kidney cancer cells. This causes the bone marrow to produce an excessive number of blood cells.
  • A high calcium level in the blood. This could indicate that cancer has spread to the bones.
  • The presence of a high level of liver enzymes. This could indicate that cancer has progressed to the liver.

This urinalysis test can be done if your doctor suspects kidney disease. A urinalysis test can be used to detect blood in the urine. A small sample of your urine is tested in a lab to see if it contains blood for this test.

Computed tomography uses X-rays to make detailed cross-section images of your body. It can provide accurate information on the size, form, and location of a tumor. It is also useful for checking whether cancer has spread to neighboring lymph nodes and tissues outside the kidney.

MRI scans can be performed when a person cannot have CT contrast dye because they are allergic to it or have poor renal function. MRI scans may also be performed if there is a chance that cancer has become a major blood vessel in the abdomen.

Finally, they can be used to examine abnormal regions of the brain and spinal cord which may be due to the spread of cancer.

Ultrasound will help find kidney mass and show whether it is solid or fluidic. Different ultrasound models may also help doctors differentiate between certain types of benign and malignant kidney tumors.

Angiography is an X-ray examination of the blood vessels. In a traditional angiogram, a contrast dye is injected into the kidney artery, and the dye describes the blood vessels. Radiographs can map blood vessels that feed a kidney tumor.

This test can help schedule surgery for certain patients. Angiography can also help diagnose kidney cancers as blood vessels generally have a special appearance with this test.

Today, angiography is performed through a computed tomography or MRI scan, instead of a separate X-ray test. This means that less contrast coloring is used because it could damage kidney function.

An x-ray can be taken after the diagnosis of kidney cancer to determine whether cancer has spread to the lungs. Usually, a thoracic CT is performed because it can see abnormal areas better.

A bone scan can be used to determine if cancer has spread to your bones. A small quantity of low-level radioactive material is injected into the blood and accumulates primarily in abnormal areas of the bones.

It could be done if there are grounds to believe that cancer may have spread to bones such as bone pain or increased calcium levels.

In contrast to most other types of cancer, biopsies are sometimes not required to find kidney tumors. In some cases, imaging tests may provide enough information for a surgeon to decide whether surgery is needed. The diagnosis is then confirmed when part of the kidney collected is examined in the laboratory.

Kidney cancer treatment

Kidney cancer treatment in India

Surgery involves removing the tumor and some of the surrounding healthy tissue during surgery. If cancer did not extend beyond the kidneys, surgery to remove the tumor may be the only treatment required. Surgery to remove the tumor can mean removing some or all of the kidney, as well as possibly surrounding tissues and lymph nodes.

The types of surgery that are used for renal cancer treatment in India include:

Radical nephrectomy

Surgery for the removal of the tumor, the whole kidney, and the surrounding tissue is called a radical nephrectomy. If the surrounding tissues and lymph nodes are also affected by the disease, radical nephrectomy and lymph node dissection are performed. When a lymph node dissection is performed, the lymph nodes affected by the cancer are removed.

Doctor’s advice on radical nephrectomy

A radical nephrectomy is typically recommended for treating a large tumor when there is not a lot of healthy tissue remaining. Sometimes the renal tumor develops right inside the renal vein and enters the vena cava on its way to the heart. In this case, complicated cardiovascular surgery techniques are needed.

Partial nephrectomy

A partial nephrectomy is surgery to remove the tumor. This type of surgery protects kidney function and reduces the risk of developing chronic kidney disease following surgery.

Robotic and Laparoscopic surgery

During laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon does several small cuts in the abdomen, rather than the largest cut used during a conventional surgical procedure. The surgeon then inserts telescopic equipment into these small incisions to completely remove the kidney or carry out a partial nephrectomy. Sometimes the surgeon can use robotic tools to carry out the surgery.

Doctor’s advice on Robotic and Laparoscopic surgery

This can take longer, but it can be less painful. It is important that you discuss the potential benefits and risks of surgical procedures with your surgeon and to be certain that the team has experience with the procedure.

Surgery may not be recommended due to tumor characteristics or the patient’s overall health. Each patient should have a thorough conversation with their physician about their diagnosis and risk factors to see if these treatments are suitable and safe for them. These procedures can be recommended:

Radiofrequency ablation

RF removal is the use of a needle inserted in the tumor to destroy cancer with an electric current.

Doctor’s advice on Radiofrequency ablation

In the past, RFA was only used for persons who were too ill to have surgery.

Cryoablation

Cryoablation is the freezing of cancerous cells using a metallic probe inserted by a small incision. The metallic sensor is placed in the cancerous tissue. A CT and ultrasonic scan will guide the probe.

Systemic therapy involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. This type of medication is administered orally or directly through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells throughout the body.

Kidney cancer treatments include:

  • Targeted therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Chemo

Each of these types of treatments is discussed at greater length below. They may also be administered as part of a treatment plan that involves surgery or radiotherapy.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is a therapy that targets specific cancer genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to the growth and survival of cancer. This type of therapy inhibits the growth and spread of cancer cells and limits damage to healthy cells.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy, or biological therapy, is designed to stimulate the body’s natural defenses against cancer. It uses materials made by the body or in the lab to improve, target, or restore the function of the immune system.

Immunotherapy side effects

Different types of immune therapy may cause different side effects. Skin reactions, symptoms similar to flu, diarrhea, and weight changes are common side effects

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of medications to kill cancer cells, usually by preventing cancer cells from growing, splitting, and producing more cells.

A chemotherapy regime, or schedule, generally consists of several specific cycles over a given period. A patient can receive one medication at a time or a combination of different medications administered simultaneously.

Chemotherapy side effects

Chemotherapy side effects include fatigue, infection risk, nausea and vomiting, loss of hair, appetite loss, and diarrhea. These side effects generally disappear after kidney cancer treatment is completed.

Radiation therapy

Radiotherapy consists of using high-energy X-rays or other particles to destroy cancer cells.

Radiotherapy is not effective as the primary treatment for renal cancer. It is not often used to treat kidney cancer because of the damage it causes to the kidney in good health. 

Radiotherapy is used only if a patient cannot undergo surgery and, even then, usually only in areas where cancer has spread and not on the primary renal tumor. In most cases, radiotherapy is used when cancer has spread. It is made to help relieve symptoms, such as bone pain or swelling of the brain.

Kidney cancer

What are the common approaches of doctors to treat different stages of Kidney cancer?

Soon after getting diagnosed with cancer the first thing that comes to your mind is about its treatment. Based on the different stages of cancer the treatment changes. The different treatment approach for kidney cancer include:

Typically, doctors advise surgery for kidney cancer treatment. Sometimes your doctor may advise you to remove the adjacent lymph nodes along with the cancerous part of the kidney. 

Treatment for stage 2 cancer is similar to stage 1 cancer. However sometimes your doctor may advise you immunotherapy and targeted therapy after the surgery to prevent relapse of the cancer.

For treating stage 3 kidney cancer your doctor may advise you surgery followed by adjuvant therapy to prevent the spread of cancer to adjacent body parts and also causes removal of cancerous cells.

To treat stage 4 kidney cancer your doctor may suggest surgery followed by adjuvant therapy. Along with adjuvant therapy your doctor may also suggest immunotherapy to treat the metastasized cancer.

Which country is best for Kidney cancer treatment?

After getting diagnosed with cancer people we start to look for the best treatment options available within our budget. Although, it is difficult to choose the best country, here are a few tips that can help you choose the best country for your kidney cancer treatment:

  • Check for the survival ratios for people who underwent Kidney cancer treatment in the chosen country
  • Choose a country that has world-class health-care facilities with the latest devices for cancer treatment
  • Confirm the treatment cost of stay in that country
  • Confirm the success rate of Kidney cancer treatment in the country

Other than checking for the affordability and availability of world-class treatment, you must also consider the following factors too, like:

  • The availability of connecting flights, 
  • Local connectivity, and
  • Safety of the selected country.

 The availability of world-class treatment with the latest technology attracts several people to the western nations, however, the cost of kidney cancer treatment in those countries are usually high.

In contrast to developed nations, the cost of kidney cancer treatment in India is almost half. 

Also, the hospitals in India also offer world-class facilities, with high success and survival ratios for kidney cancer treatment.

Treatment cost
prostate cancer survival rate

How to choose the best hospital for kidney cancer treatment in India?

Selecting a hospital for kidney cancer treatment is vital because a good hospital provides you with world class facilities for cancer treatment.

In addition to providing world-class facilities you must also ensure that your chosen hospital offers a multidisciplinary approach thereby giving you access to specialists surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and well-trained nurses who work together to provide the best treatment for you.

Nevertheless, you must ascertain that the chosen hospital has a dedicated unit for cancer treatment.

How to choose the best oncologist for your kidney cancer treatment in India?

Selecting an oncologist is an arduous task but you need to research nicely before making the decision. 

An experienced and well-trained doctor, helps to reverse or atleast manage the symptoms of your kidney cancer by their expertise. If you are unsure on selecting a doctor you must ensure that:

  • The doctor is tumor board certified
  • Your doctor has a dedicated team of specialists for treating cancer which includes specialist surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists
  • The experience and expertise of your doctor in treating kidney cancer
prostate cancer survival rate
Treatment cost

treatment cost

Kidney cancer treatment cost in India

The cost of kidney cancer care in India is far less than is expected in any other developing country of the industrialized world.

The cost of renal cancer care in India is expected to be at least 60 to 70 percent lower than it costs in western nations, such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

The estimated cost of treatment for kidney cancer in India is approximately $3,000-$4,000 (223402 – 297870 INR).

Factors that influence the kidney cancer treatment cost in India include the chosen hospital, physician experience, housing, post-operative care, etc.

Success Rate

What is the survival rate of kidney cancer treatment in India?

Stage 1 survival rate

The five-year survival rate for stage one kidney cancer is 81 percent. This means that out of 100 people, 81 people diagnosed with stage 1 kidney cancer are still living five years after their initial diagnosis.

Stage 2 survival rate

As with stage 1, a stage 2 cancer, kidney is likely to be removed and follow-up treatment may not be required. The five-year survival rate of stage 2 kidney cancer is 74 percent. This means that 74 out of 100 people diagnosed with stage 2 kidney cancer are alive five years after diagnosis.

Stage 3 survival rate

In both cases, the therapy will be aggressive. If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, they can be removed surgically. The five-year survival rate for stage 3 renal cancer is 53 percent. This means that 53 of every 100 people diagnosed with stage 3 kidney cancer will live another five years or more after they are diagnosed.

Stage 4 survival rate

The five-year survival rate at this point drops to eight percent. This means that 8 out of 100 people diagnosed with stage 4 cancer will live another 5 years after they are diagnosed.

prostate cancer survival rate

Frequently Asked Questions and patient concerns:

1. What is the latest treatment for kidney cancer?

For patients who have the most common type of kidney cancer, a new use of the targeted treatment for cabozantinib

2. Can kidney tumors be removed?

 Most kidney tumors and kidney cancer are curable through surgery. Surgery is about removing the entire tumor in the safest way for every patient and can be accomplished via a variety of approaches such as open incision, laparoscopic surgery or robotic surgery.

3. How long is recovery after kidney removal?

Recovery from kidney ablation, most often takes between 3 and 6 weeks. You can have some of these symptoms: Pain in your stomach or on the side where you had the kidney removed. The pain should improve within several days to a week.

4. Does tumor size determine stage?

Tumor size is highly dependent on prognosis (probability of survival). The smaller the tumor, the more likely the prognosis is to be good.

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MedicoExperts is a Global virtual hospital which is established to offer quality healthcare services at affordable pricing without compromising the success rates of the treatment. MedicoExperts is having a network of highly experienced super specialist doctors and well equipped hospitals across the globe and offering second opinion through online video consultation and surgical interventions through its empanelled super specialist doctors at its network hospitals in 17 countries from 3 continents.
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