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To explore the impact of renal cancer treatment on patients' quality of life.Renal cancer accounts for 95,000 deaths worldwide and its incidence rate is rising. At present there are several therapeutic approaches to the treatment of renal cancer, ranging through surgery, immunological therapies and vaccine treatment. Each of these therapies may have a substantial effect upon patients' quality of life. However, a systematic appraisal of the empirical evidence about treatment impact is lacking.Literature review.A structured review of the empirical literature on the impact of renal cancer treatment upon quality of life was undertaken. Literature was appraised and themed according to the treatment modalities included in the study.From 873 papers initially identified 52 were retrieved for detailed scrutiny resulting in a final 16 papers being included in the review.This review discusses the complex effect of renal cancer upon a patient's quality of life as treatment modalities change. The need for nursing education and awareness of these issues is therefore highlighted to maximise patient care.Understanding the impact of treatment for renal cancer enables nurses to empathise more significantly with patients and also act as mediators in regard to treatment choice and treatment cessation. It also enables nurses to inform and educate renal cancer patients prior to making treatment choices.