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"How long can someone with one kidney stay alive?"


My father is over 60 and is undergoing tests to determine whether his problems are caused by renal cancer. The doctor raised the possibilty of him having to get a kidney removed. If they do remove his kidney, how long will he have to live? Will we hav eto find a kidney donor for him while he is on dialysis?


A nephrectomy (the medical term for kidney removal) is sometimes needed to remove a renal cancer. If the procedure results in successful removal of all parts of the tumor, then it is well worth while to prevent spread of the disease. Unlike most organs in the body, there are two kidneys.

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Luckily the job of two kidneys can be taken over and done by one. Thus if your father has one of his two kidneys removed, his renal function will decline slightly but should not require dialysis. This is assuming that he has normal function in his other kidney. How long your dad lives depends on if all the cancer is removed and if he has any other health problems. The removal of one of his two kidneys should not be one of the factors. I suggest you accompany your father to his next visit with his doctor. Write down all you questions about the procedure, his prognosis with or without the surgery, and what the family can expect going forward. This way you won't have to try and remember all you questions before going in to the doctor's office. I hope your father's surgery goes well.

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