After you have had your operation, you will be able to discuss a follow-up care plan with your medical team. You will be monitored for signs that the cancer has come back (recurrence), or spread of the cancer to other parts of the body.
The frequency of your follow-up visits will depend on whether you had any complications during your surgery, how well your remaining kidney is working, and the risk of recurrence or spread of the cancer. Generally, people have follow-up visits at 6 months and 1 year after surgery, and then annually for at least 3 years. After this, follow-up visits will be every 1-2 years. This schedule will be adapted according to your risk of tumour recurrence and any subsequent treatment (if any).
Patients with an intermediate or high risk of cancer spread or recurrence, or those with complications after their operation may be seen more frequently and will be follow-up for longer (usually 5 years or more). The length of your follow-up will be determined based on the risk of your cancer coming back and your specific clinical needs.
During follow-up visits, you should have a CT scan and blood tests to check recurrence of the cancer, and kidney and heart function at each visit.
Cancer Research UK: Kidney cancer
Macmillan: Kidney cancer
NHS: Kidney cancer
European Association of Urology (EAU) Renal Cell Carcinoma guidelines: 8. Follow up
Further reading: Action Kidney Cancer Essential guide: Surgery for kidney cancer
Updated: October 2023 Next review: October 2025