Active Surveillance for Kidney Cancer

Observation is a reasonable option in selected cases and is based on sound principles known about the behavior of kidney cancer. Because most renal tumors are slow growing, especially smaller ones, most kidney cancers don’t have a significant risk of metastasis when the tumor is less than 2 centimeters.

Kristofer R. Wagner, MD, Urology; Director – Robotic Surgery

In some cases, your Integrated Care Team may recommend the active surveillance of your renal cell carcinoma.

Active surveillance means careful watching and waiting. Your physician will monitor the course of your disease, intervening with treatment if your cancer advances.

Active surveillance may be recommended if you have:

  • A limited life expectancy
  • Health limitations that prohibit other treatments
  • Tumors smaller than 2 centimeters

Active surveillance is generally not considered a good option if you:

  • Are younger and healthy
  • Have a tumor larger than 2 centimeters

Active surveillance often includes:

  • CT or MRI scans every 6 to 12 months
  • Follow-up office visits to discuss imaging results

Active surveillance is a good alternative if your tumor is smaller than 2 centimeters, and you wish to avoid the side effects of other cancer treatments while still being monitored closely.

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