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Monitoring Treatment


Recognizing the importance of follow-up tests

As your treatment journey moves forward, your health care provider may sometimes perform follow-up tests. These tests will help your health care provider assess how well your medicine is slowing the growth, or stopping the progression, of your cancer.

Checking your progress

Checking how well your treatment is working is an important part of your care. Some of the tests that your health care providers use for checking may be the same tests that were used when your advanced kidney cancer was originally diagnosed, such as:

  • X-rays: A standard x-ray of the chest area allows health care providers to see if the cancer has spread to the lungs. X-rays may also be used to look at other areas of your body
  • Computed tomography (CT scan): This scan takes pictures of your organs from different angles, one section at a time. A computer then puts the images together to show the size and location of problem areas
  • Bone scan: For this test, small amounts of radioactive dye are injected into the bloodstream. The blood carries the dye to areas of bone where many cells are growing. This test can be used to see if the cancer has spread to the bone

Lab tests, such as blood tests, may be used to help health care providers check the number of red blood cells in your body. These tests may also detect the presence of certain chemicals and hormones. They can be used to check how well your liver is working too.


Understanding test results for kidney cancer

Tests that monitor cancer are an important way to get information about the progression of a patient's kidney cancer. Your health care provider will discuss the results of these tests to let you know if they show any of the following:

  • Complete response: This means that the evidence of your tumor has disappeared, however it does not mean that you may be completely cured
  • Partial response: Also called partial remission. This means that your tumor has stopped growing and/or has become smaller
  • Stable disease: This means that your tumor has stopped growing
  • Progressive disease: This means that your tumor has grown or spread to form new tumors in other parts of your body


Having tests to monitor your cancer from time to time is a good way to see if your current treatment medicine is working and if your condition has changed. This can also help your health care providers decide if it is a good time to try a different treatment option, such as another kind of medicine.