Living Well with Kidney Cancer

Transcripts from Video

Over the last 15 years there’s been a renaissance. There are patients that are coming in rocking grandkids on their lap that really, 12, 15 years ago, you didn’t think they would be here. And that’s what I tell patients, that even patients with large kidney tumors that come in as localized disease, about 30% of them will have a recurrence and even in that situation there are so many options and there are so many ways to, if not cure, to make this a chronic problem that is manageable, that can be controlled for years and potentially even decades.

Alexander Kutikov, MD, FACS

Fox Chase Cancer Center

Whenever a patient is diagnosed with a new diagnosis of kidney cancer, it’s really important to have a comprehensive care team that is focused not just at providing what’s the best treatment per se, like systemic therapy, but actually looking at the person as a whole. One of the biggest questions patients ask is, “what do I eat? What do I do? What can I do? How can I exercise?” So linking in with a nutritionist or potentially it’s physical therapy and occupational therapy, potentially a social worker to help with, how do you tell the family? How do you tell children? How do you cope with this illness? So it’s that integrated team of the oncologist, surgeon, radiation oncologist, and the lots of other ancillary support that comes with a new diagnosis of cancer.

Rana McKay, MD

University of California, San Diego

A lot of us are very private with our health and a lot of patients, they live in the world, they’re healthy, they want to maintain that, so a lot won’t share their diagnosis with others. I had a young patient who said, “you know this probably isn’t a question for you, but how do I tell people?” And I said, “that is a question for me and here are my suggestions.” And there are ways to sort of tell people in a broad sense. I can help patients with what to say to help frame it correctly but if you don’t tell your community they can’t be there for you. And all these folks have, have a community of people who want to help them so I would say, be open, engage your community, lean on them. They feel great helping you and you’ll need their support going through this.

Elizabeth Plimack, MD

Fox Chase Cancer Center

When I finished my residency some 20 years ago, if you had stage four metastatic kidney cancer, on average you lived about 10 to 12 months. I’m halfway through my career now, 20 years deep, the survival is now six times better. That’s like antibiotics being discovered or vaccines being discovered yet you had something that was basically untreatable and incurable and you’ve rendered it completely treatable, sometimes curable. We’re not with one yet but what inspires me is the fact that such huge amounts of progress have occurred in the half of my career that I’ve experienced and I can’t imagine what the next half is going to look like.

Robert Uzzo, MD, MBA, FACS

Fox Chase Cancer Center

There is a temptation from family and friends to try to fix things, to try to make everything better. Ultimately, what a patient who has a new cancer diagnosis needs is for family and friends to be there, to support them and for the occasional hug.

Dr. Moshe Ornstein, MD, MA

Cleveland Clinic

We are pushing the envelope. And now patients with kidney cancer, they’re survival’s measured in years and years compared to what we had in the past, so the future is bright.

Toni Choueiri, MD

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

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