Talking about kidney cancer prognosis without treatment is challenging. It’s undeniable that the condition could be life-threatening, particularly if it is aggressive or when it is diagnosed lately (if it has spread). Interestingly there are also some cases in which watchful-waiting option, a procedure of when immediate treatment is not necessary, is suggested.
Prognosis of cancer is a term that refers to the estimate of how the cancer will become or go. If you’re diagnosed with kidney cancer, the decision of whether or not you want to know your prognosis is your own personal choice.
It is not always easy to understand what the prognosis means – even for doctors, it is also hard to talk about! But understanding this issue may help you prepare yourself better to cope with the condition – though this can also vary from patient to patient, because some patients may not find the information helpful.
When it comes to discussing about the prognosis and life expectancy of people with cancer, the 5-survival rate is the common variable used in research. It refers to what the percent of people who live at least five years after the cancer is diagnosed. Five years also means that the patient may keep survive longer than 5 years or die from other causes.
In order to get the statistic of 5-year survival rate, researchers have to look at patients who were treated at least five years ago.
According to the American Cancer Society’s publication – in general, about 73 percent of people with kidney cancer live 5 years or more after the first diagnosis (this is quite awesome).
It seems that the treatment plan has developed in recent years, which may turn into a better outlook for patients now being diagnosed with this cancer.
A number of factors can affect this survival rate – the cancer stage is one of the main ones, even it may be the most important factor. In number staging system for cancer, there are 4 main cancer stages; I, II, III, and IV. Stage IV has the worst prognosis. For information about the survival rate of kidney cancer according to the stage of the condition, see this section!
Besides the cancer stage, other factors that may affect the prognosis are as follows:
- Cancer grade, how the cancer cells look (observed under a microscope) compared to normal cells. The greater grade score means it’s more likely to grow aggressively. And aggressive cancer is more difficult to treat and likely to come back after treatment – leading to worse outcome.
- The age and overall health of patient.
- How well you respond to the cancer treatment.
- The kind of previous cancer treatment you have taken may also have an effect!
We do agree that cancer is serious condition or even life-threatening. That’s why, it’s important to take the best cancer treatment to cope with. But in kidney cancer, sometimes the prognosis could be better without treatment.
Older patients with small kidney tumors may be more likely to successfully live over the next 5 years if they choose watchful-waiting procedure instead of taking the surgery right away – according to a substantial review of Medicare records.
This review didn’t involve patients of all ages. It only used elderly patients, 66 and older, the age group in which kidney cancer is most commonly diagnosed (in fact the risk of developing this cancer increases with age).
Researchers believe that even though if the tumor turns out to be cancer, the chance to cope with the condition for elderly patients is relatively easier without treatment. Even surgery may roughly double the risk of developing another life-threatening condition such as heart problem.
Only about 13 percent of elderly patients who had watchful-waiting monitoring had died after 5 years – compared to about 24 percent of elderly patients who took surgery. And about 3 percent of patients in each group had died due to kidney cancer.
A challenging question, does this suggest that kidney cancer prognosis is better without treatment?