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Monitoring Treatment


Recognizing the importance of follow-up tests

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

Using monitoring to check your progress

Monitoring how well your treatment is working is an important part of your continuing care. Some of the tests that your doctors use for monitoring may be the same tests that were used for initial diagnoses when your advanced kidney cancer was originally diagnosed, such as:

  • X-rays: A standard x-ray of the chest area allows doctors 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 highly specialized X-ray 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 abnormalities
  • 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

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


Understanding test results for kidney cancer

Monitoring tests are an important way to get information about the progression of a patient's kidney cancer disease progression. Your doctor will discuss the results of these tests in context with the following assessments to let you know if they show any of the following:

  • Complete response: Also called complete remission. This means that your tumor has completely disappeared
  • Partial response: Also called partial remission. This means that your tumor has stopped growing and 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 monitoring tests from time to time is a good way to see if your current treatment medicine is working the way it should and if your condition has changed in any way. This can also help your doctors decide if it is a good time to try a different treatment option, such as another kind of medicine.