Building a Care Team

Transcripts from Video

Kidney cancer is such a unique diagnosis. I think it’s important to keep in mind it’s still a small proportion of all cancers out there. And while I think that general medical oncologists are fantastic, I think it’s useful to get an opinion from a center with expertise in the disease.

Sumanta Pal, MD

City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center

The way I describe a comprehensive cancer center is in some ways it’s a one stop shop, meaning under one umbrella we have medical oncologists who give the medicines for kidney cancer and in many ways direct the care. We have the surgical oncologists who are involved in removing the kidney. We have other surgeons who might be involved in biopsies or taking out other areas of isolated sites of cancer. We have radiation doctors who can help with pain for specific sites or SBRT or all sorts of radiological techniques of ablating tumors. We have pharmacists. We have social workers. We have all the support all under one area.

Moshe Ornstein, MD, MA

Cleveland Clinic

Seeing more than one opinion is important. When you buy an HVAC, you get a few estimates. Same thing. This is your health and it’s always good to have a few pairs of eyes look at the same thing and give you a few opinions and gives you a level of comfort to choose the person you would like to move forward with. And treatment is a journey and you really need to partner with the right provider, and make sure you’re comfortable, and make sure you feel like you’re at the right place.

Alexander Kutikov, MD, FACS

Fox Chase Cancer Center

My husband’s been alive for 14 years with metastatic kidney cancer. That’s a story we’re hearing more now. One of the reasons that’s our story is we traveled for the best medical care we could find. I know it feels comfortable to stay at home, reach out, try to get to a National Cancer Institute. Try to get to one of the very large centers. You are going to get a different level of advice and a different level of care there. You’re going to have opportunities at clinical trials that you will not have in a community hospital.

Susan Poteat

KidneyCAN

Speaking for patients who have metastatic kidney cancer, so kidney cancer that has spread beyond the kidney, I think it’s the role of the medical oncologist to serve as the captain of the ship, so to speak. So that’s the person who needs to be involved in every aspect of the care. Patient might be going for surgery, might be going for a biopsy, might be going for radiation, and that’s all necessary in different aspects of the care, but there needs to be a person or a team that’s directing care, and I think that should be the role of the medical oncologist. The day-to-day management doesn’t necessarily have to be from a specialist and doesn’t necessarily have to be at a comprehensive cancer center. But on top of that, on a practical level, because patients are scared when they first meet with their oncologist, not only is that family member there for the psychosocial emotional support, but that’s the person who’s likely to remember the names of the medications. That’s the person who’s not afraid to take notes. That’s the person who’s probably not afraid to ask those difficult questions that a patient’s concerned about.

Dr. Moshe Ornstein, MD, MA

Cleveland Clinic

Without access to those sorts of clinical trials, patients will never really get exposed to the next generation of treatments. And I think that’s so essential in terms of their further development in terms of treatment.

Sumanta Pal, MD

City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center

There’s lots of new things on the horizon for patients with kidney cancer. Look in the end, what a kidney cancer patient and any cancer patient needs to understand is that he or she needs to partner with their physician. It’s a journey. It’s a trust journey. You and that person are going to go through every step together and you just need to ask those questions and interact with that person and feel comfortable that they’re going to carry you through.

Robert Uzzo, MD, MBA, FACS

Fox Chase Cancer Center

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