Dealing with a Cancer Diagnosis

What Should You Expect After Kidney Cancer Surgery?

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When caught early, kidney cancers can often be eliminated through surgery. These procedures usually involve removing part or all of the kidney, along with the tumor and any other cancerous tissues around it. But you may wonder, what happens once your surgery is complete? Like any surgery, there are steps you and your medical team can take to give you the best possible outcome and improve your odds of a full recovery.

Managing Pain

When you first wake up from kidney cancer surgery, the priority will likely be to manage pain levels and take care of the incision site. You may feel groggy, tired, or disoriented at first, but this sensation is normal and should subside in a few hours.  During this time, try to lie still, and talk to your medical team if you feel pain or notice bleeding. As you progress through recovery, you'll gradually transition from liquid to solid foods and be able to stand and walk.

Watching for Complications

All surgeries come with the risk of complications, and kidney cancer treatment is no different. In the months following your surgery, your doctor should check in with you to make sure no secondary issues have developed. Initially, this might involve taking deep breaths or walking around to minimize the risk of blood clots, pneumonia, and other common surgical side effects. Later checkup appointments will monitor your body for infection and measure remaining kidney functionality.

Healing at Home

After a day or two in the hospital, if all goes well, you should be released to finish your recovery from home. Your doctor will likely recommend taking time off from work, avoiding physical strain, and reducing your consumption of certain foods. Meals with high protein or salt, for example, can put unwanted stress on your kidneys as they recover. The amount of time needed will depend on your body and the type of surgery used. After a less invasive laparoscopic procedure, for example, you may be back to full functioning within a few weeks.

Screening for Further Cancer Growth

Over time, the success or failure of the kidney cancer treatment will be assessed. For some patients, surgery completely removes the tumor and the cancer never returns. Others may see a resurgence and need further care. Although living with kidney cancer can be stressful and draining, treatments and outcomes are steadily improving. By working with a kidney cancer care specialist, you stand the best chance of making a full recovery.

For more information on kidney cancer treatment, contact a professional near you.