Lifestyle Changes for Kidney Cancer Patients: Tips for a Healthy Life

Women eating Healthy Food - NU Hospitals

Kidney cancer, also known as renal cell carcinoma, is a type of cancer that originates in the kidneys, the organs responsible for filtering blood and removing waste products. In India, kidney cancer is estimated to affect about 2 in 100,000 people (men) and almost 1 in 100,000 women. Understanding this condition is essential to detect and manage it effectively. Lifestyle changes play an important role in managing kidney cancer.  Adopting a healthy diet, regular exercise, and quitting smoking can enhance the overall survival rate. These changes, combined with medical treatments, contribute to improved outcomes, reduced side effects, and a better quality of life for kidney cancer patients.

Lifestyle Changes for Kidney Cancer Patients

Man Doing Yoga - NU Hospitals

Leading a hassle-free life with kidney cancer often requires significant lifestyle changes to support overall health and well-being. These changes can positively impact the individual's physical and emotional state, enhance treatment outcomes and contribute to a better quality of life. The following are the various lifestyle changes for individuals living with kidney cancer:

Healthy diet: Adopting a nutritious diet is essential for individuals with kidney cancer. Including a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, and limiting processed foods, salt, and saturated fats can help manage blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight. Specific dietary recommendations may vary based on the patient's overall health, stage of cancer, and treatment plan. Consult with a nutritionist to make a personalized diet plan.

Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is essential, especially for those undergoing cancer treatments. Proper hydration supports kidney function and helps manage potential side effects of treatments. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water per day, as advised by your healthcare team.

Moderate phosphorus and potassium: Some kidney cancer patients may need to monitor phosphorus and potassium intake, especially if kidney function is compromised. Foods rich in these minerals include dairy products, nuts, and bananas. It is advised to limit the intake of such types of foods.

Regular exercise: Engage in regular, moderate exercise to enhance physical strength and endurance. Exercise can also contribute to better mood and overall mental well-being. It is essential to determine a suitable exercise routine based on your current health status and treatment plan.

Stress management: Managing stress is crucial for individuals living with kidney cancer.  Stress can also impact your immune system and overall health. Make sure to include stress-reduction activities in your daily routine, such as mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, or yoga.

Quality sleep: Prioritize quality sleep to support the body's healing processes. Establish a consistent sleep schedule and create a relaxing bedtime routine. If you experience sleep disturbances due to treatment side effects, discuss potential solutions with your healthcare team.

Medication adherence: Take prescribed medications as directed by your healthcare team. Consistent adherence to medication schedules is crucial for managing symptoms and supporting treatment efficacy and outcomes.

Social support: Cultivate a strong support network comprising family, friends, and support groups. Share your thoughts and feelings with loved ones, and consider joining support groups to connect with individuals facing similar challenges. Emotional support is a vital aspect of coping with kidney cancer.

Educate yourself: Take an active role in understanding your condition. Educate yourself about kidney cancer, treatment options, and potential side effects. Informed decision-making and proactive engagement with your healthcare team can empower you throughout your journey.

Quit smoking and limit alcohol: If you smoke, seek assistance to quit, as smoking can exacerbate the effects of kidney cancer and treatment. Additionally, limit alcohol intake, as excessive alcohol consumption can impact overall health and interfere with medications.

Sun protection: Some cancer treatments may make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. Use sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and avoid prolonged sun exposure to prevent skin damage.

Financial planning: Consider the financial implications of your treatment. Explore insurance options, inquire about available support programs, and plan accordingly to minimize financial stress during this challenging time.

Adaptive lifestyle changes: Be open to adapting your lifestyle based on your evolving health needs. This may involve modifying work responsibilities, adjusting daily activities, or seeking assistance when needed.

Maintain a positive outlook: Cultivate a positive mindset to navigate the challenges of kidney cancer. Engage in activities that bring joy and fulfillment, and seek professional psychological support if needed.

Regular medical check-ups: Adhere to your scheduled medical appointments and follow-ups. Regular check-ups allow your Uro-oncologist healthcare professionals to monitor your progress, to follow up on imaging to know the status of the disease, adjust treatment plans or biochemical tests if necessary, and address any emerging concerns promptly. 

In summary, living with kidney cancer necessitates a holistic approach to lifestyle. By incorporating healthy habits, seeking support, and staying informed, individuals can enhance their overall well-being and contribute to the effectiveness of their treatment. Remember that each person's journey is unique, so work closely with your healthcare team to tailor lifestyle changes to your specific needs and circumstances.

NU Hospitals in Bangalore, India, excels in kidney cancer treatment, offering top-notch care through a multidisciplinary approach. Renowned for their skilled medical professionals, advanced technology, and patient-centric focus, NU Hospitals stands as a leading institution in providing comprehensive and effective kidney cancer treatment, ensuring the highest standards of medical care and positive outcomes.



  1.  Kidney Cancer. Mayo Clinic.

  1. Healthy Lifestyle. National Library of Medicine.

  1. Dietary advice. Kidney Cancer UK.

  1. Living as a Kidney Cancer Survivor. American Cancer Society.

Author: Dr. Vinod Kumar P + Dr. Pradeepa M G

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