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Kidney Health

The kidneys are vital organs that filter waste products from the blood, control blood pressure, and stimulate red blood cell production. Treatment for children’s cancer can sometimes damage the kidneys. Some kidney problems occur during therapy and persist, while others can begin years after completion of therapy.

Treatments Which Can Cause Kidney Problems

Follow Up Recommendations

Survivors who have received any of the above treatments should have yearly check-ups that include tests for kidney function and blood pressure. These may include urine and blood tests to look at kidney function and measure salts and minerals. Sometimes specialized X-rays are needed to better study kidney function. Healthcare providers may refer patients to a nephrologist or urologist (kidney or bladder specialist) for additional evaluation.

Steps to Keeping Kidneys Healthy

Summary of recommendations for follow-up

Treatment

Recommended Follow-up

How Often

Ifosfamide

Cisplatin

Carboplatin

Medical check-up including blood pressure check

Yearly

Blood tests to check kidney function blood urea nitrogent (BUN)

Yearly

Urinalysis

Yearly

Blood tests for electrolytes (blood salts and minerals)

First long term follow-up visit*, then every five years

Kidney function test (creatinine clearance or GFR)

First long-term follow-up visit*, repeated periodically if problems are detected

Radiation involving the kidneys

Cystectomy

Medical check-up including blood pressure check

Yearly

Blood tests to check kidney function (BUN and creatinine)

Yearly

Urinalysis

Yearly

Blood tests for electrolytes (blood salts and minerals) and kidney function test (creatinine clearance or GFR)

If high blood pressure, protein in the urine, or abnormal BUN or creatinine. Repeat periodically if problems detected.

Cystectomy (also refer to above recommendations)

Urine culture

Yearly

Check up by urologist

Yearly

Methotrexate

Medical check-up including blood pressure check

Yearly

Blood tests to check kidney function (BUN and creatinine)

First long-term follow-up visit*

Urinalysis

First long-term follow-up visit*

Blood tests for electrolytes (blood salts and minerals) and kidney function test (creatinine clearance or GFR)

If high blood pressure, protein in the urine or abnormal BUN or creatinine. Repeat periodically if problems detected.

*First long-term follow-up visit should be at least 2 years after completing cancer therapy

For Patients Who Had a Kidney Removed During Cancer Treatment
Treatment for children’s cancer sometimes requires removal of one kidney (nephrectomy).  Although patients can live a healthy life with only one kidney, it is important that they take steps to protect the remaining kidney in order to keep it as healthy as possible.

Recommended Follow Up

© The Children's Oncology Group
The information and content provided on this website is made available for informational purposes only for children and their families affected by cancer. While the Children's Oncology Group strives to provide accurate and up-to-date information, the information may be out of date or incomplete in certain respects. Please do not rely on this information and seek the care of a qualified medical professional if you have questions regarding a specific medical condition, disease, diagnosis or symptom. The information and content presented herein is not intended to replace the independent clinical judgement, medical advice, screening, health counseling, or other intervention performed by your (or your child's) health care provider. Please contact "911" or your emergency services if this is a health emergency. No endorsement of any specific tests, products, or procedures is made herein.