Radiotherapy for advanced kidney cancer

Radiotherapy treats cancer by using high-energy x-rays, which destroy the cancer cells while doing as little harm as possible to normal cells. It’s mostly used to relieve symptoms of kidney cancer that has spread to the brain or the bones.

We have more information about secondary bone cancer and secondary brain cancer.The treatment is given in the hospital radiotherapy department. You usually have it as an outpatient. Radiotherapy is often given as sessions called fractions. When used to relieve symptoms, it’s usually given for a few minutes every day for a few days. Your doctor will explain the treatment plan with you.

After the radiographer has positioned you for radiotherapy, they will leave you for a few minutes while you have your treatment. They will be able to see you while this is happening and you can talk to them through an intercom. Radiotherapy can cause tiredness.

Side effects of radiotherapy

Other side effects depend on the part of the body being treated. But these are usually mild when radiotherapy is given to relieve symptoms. The doctor who plans your radiotherapy (clinical oncologist) or a specialist nurse will tell you what to expect. Usually side effects go away gradually once your course of treatment is over. You should let your doctor know if they continue.

Back to Treating

Making treatment decisions

Your doctors may tell you there are different options for your treatment. Having the right information will help you make the right decision for you.

Surgery for kidney cancer

Surgery involves removing all or part of the cancer with an operation. It is an important treatment for many cancers.

Monitoring kidney cancer

Sometimes, active treatment may not be immediately necessary or appropriate. Doctors may suggest monitoring small, low-grade cancers.

Targeted (biological) therapies

Targeted (biological) therapies interfere with the way cells grow and divide. Find out how they may be used to treat kidney (renal) cancer.

Immunotherapies for kidney cancer

Immunotherapy drugs encourage the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. It is sometimes used to treat types of advanced kidney cancer.

Clinical trials

Many people are offered a trial as part of treatment. Find out more to help you decide if a trial is right for you.

Life after cancer treatment

You might be thinking about how to get back to normal following treatment. Find advice, information and support about coping with and after cancer.