Kidney cancer without chemo treatment-How do we determine what stage he is in now?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 15, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

A friend of mine has kidney cancer - one kidney has been removed. He refusses to take Chemotherapy. I can see the difference in his appearance on a daily basis. His life span without the treatment, according to docter is 2-4 months. How do we determine what stage he is in now? Losing weight, loss of appetite, his skin colour is also starting to change - light yellow/blue/greyish.


Expert Answers

Andrew Putnam, M.D. is a Palliative Care physician at Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University.

Unfortunately, the stage of a cancer is determined by where the cancer is and where it has spread, not how the patient looks. Sometimes people with a stage 4 cancer can still be working while someone with an early stage cancer in a vital organ can look much worse. Your friend sounds like his cancer is very advanced and life-threatening, whatever stage it is.

It might not be helpful at this point as your friend is so sick but usually a CT scan or some other imaging study is used to find out the stage of a cancer.