Building a Care Team
Choosing a doctor can feel overwhelming, but this is especially true for patients with kidney cancer, which is considered one of the more “rare” cancers.
Finding a comprehensive cancer center
SPOREs (Specialized Centers of Excellence)
The SPOREs (Specialized Centers of Excellence) in kidney cancer foster collaborations among experts in renal cancer generating new resources and research opportunities for the scientific community. These centers offer a full team of specialists with expertise in management of kidney cancer. Patients who live a distance from either of these centers often choose a SPORE.
NCI-Designated Cancer Centers
Ideally you will find doctors who specialize in kidney cancer. NCI-Designated Cancer Centers deliver cutting-edge cancer treatments to patients in communities across the United States and are a good choice for your care center if the distance to one is manageable.
Do I need a second opinion?
Kidney Cancer is considered relatively uncommon, so a second opinion at a major cancer center on your choice of treatment may help you feel more confident about the treatment plan. A second opinion is especially important to consider if you have a rare subtype of kidney cancer. Visit this cancer.net page for further information.
Here’s a lead oncologist from an NCI cancer center explaining the importance and the process for getting a second opinion:
Doctors who specialize in kidney cancer
Oncologic surgeons and medical oncologists
Your first appointment (also called a consult) will usually be with a urologist trained to treat cancer with surgery. This physician may also be referred to as a urologic oncologist. Many patients will also see a medical oncologist, a physician trained to treat kidney cancer with medications.
Questions for my doctors
Writing questions down before your appointment is a good way to prepare and feel more in control. The list of questions in your lap is a good signal to the doctor to give you time for questions toward the end of your consultation.
This reference from Cancer.net will help you make a list of questions for your visit. It is also a good idea to have someone attend these initial treatment related appointments with you if possible. They can take notes and provide another set of ears, since there will be a lot of information to be understood and processed.
This video from healthination.com has some useful information.
Reliable Resources for Cancer Information
NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE
INTERNATIONAL KIDNEY CANCER COALITION
CANCER AND CAREERS
Strategies for Coping with Cancer in the Workplace
Join Our Grassroots Army
KidneyCAN is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit and does not receive any funding through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) or KCRP (Kidney Cancer Research Program). Our work is funded by grassroots donors in the kidney cancer community.