Questions that you may want to discuss with your surgeon, cancer specialist (oncologist) or other members of your health care team following your nephrectomy include:

  • Were you able to remove all of the cancerous or diseased tissue?
  • How much of the kidney was removed?
  • Will I need to have any treatments if cancer has spread to other organs?
  • How often will my kidney function need to be monitored?

Monitoring kidney function

Most people can function well with only one kidney or with one whole kidney and part of the second. You'll likely have checkups to monitor the following factors related to kidney function.

  • Blood pressure. You'll need careful monitoring of your blood pressure because decreased kidney function can increase blood pressure — and high blood pressure can, in turn, damage your kidney.
  • Protein urine levels. High protein urine levels (proteinuria) may indicate kidney damage and poor kidney function.
  • Waste filtration. Glomerular filtration rate is a measure of how efficiently your kidney filters waste. The test is usually performed with a sample of blood. A reduced filtration rate indicates decreased kidney function.

Taking care of your remaining kidney

After a nephrectomy or partial nephrectomy, you may have overall normal kidney function. To preserve normal kidney function, your doctor may recommend that you eat a healthy diet, engage in daily physical activity and attend regular checkups to monitor your kidney health.

If you develop kidney disease in your remaining kidney after nephrectomy or partial nephrectomy, your doctor may recommend changes to your diet, such as limiting salt or protein.

May 16, 2015