Living Well with Kidney Cancer
Being diagnosed with and treated for kidney cancer will change many facets of your life. This page provides information and support to help you manage your stress and improve your health and wellbeing
Listen to kidney cancer specialists from around the country discuss rapidly evolving advances in kidney cancer treatments and the positive outcomes they see in their patients. Understanding that many options exist for the treatment of your disease can help you keep moving forward with living your best life.
We’ve collected some great resources on this page to help you support your wellbeing by providing support as you care for your relationships, your financial health, and your body, mind and soul.
Caring for your Relationships
A cancer diagnosis can impact your emotional health, which in turn can affect your relationships. This is a life-changing experience, and you may need to adjust roles in your household and extended family. We’ve gathered resources to guide you as you share your diagnosis, communicate with others, and look for support.
Sharing Your Diagnosis
How to tell others about your cancer diagnosis is a personal choice. There’s no one right time or way to share your information. Visit our resources aimed to help you start these conversations.
Communicating with Family
A cancer diagnosis affects everyone in the family, but especially your partner. We have some good tips for keeping the lines of communication with your spouse or partner open.
Communicating your Diagnosis to Children
Informing your children about your diagnosis of kidney cancer is difficult. Here is some advice from experts to prepare.
Support Groups & Forums
Connecting with other patients and caregivers is a huge source of support for both newly diagnosed patients and those who’ve been living with cancer for a while. You are not alone!
Tips for the Caregiver
Here are resources for friends and family members giving care to a person with cancer. It’s also important to take care of yourself while caring for your loved one.
“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
A cancer diagnosis can make you feel like you’ve lost control of your body and health, but there is a lot you can still do to stay active, get the most out of your treatment, and reduce the impact of side effects on your life. This section gives some ways that can help your body feel its best.
Caring for your
Keeping Up Your Daily Routine
Think about how you want to spend your time and who you like to be with. Try to develop a daily routine.
Click the link below to view this information from Cancer.org
Physical exercise can help your mood and your health.
Click the link below to view this information from This is living with cancer.com
Caring for Your Kidney Function
Your kidneys are vital organs. Check out these healthy steps to take the best care of your kidneys.
Improving your Sleep
Worry, pain and schedule disruption can all negatively affect your sleep. Get ideas for sleep management so you can feel your best.
Click the link below to view this information from Cancer.gov
Consider making beneficial changes through healthy eating habits and better nutrition if you are not already doing so.
Caring for Mind & Soul
A kidney cancer diagnosis can impact more than your physical health. For many patients, learning how to care for their mind and soul as they navigate diagnosis and treatment can be helpful. Read on for some resources we’ve collected.
Read and/or download this good guide from NCI on the many mental and emotional aspects of adjusting to cancer.
Spirituality in Cancer Care
Some patients find that their spiritual beliefs can help them cope with cancer. Your oncologist can refer you to resources for spiritual support in your cancer center and in your community.
Click the link below to view this page from Cancer.gov
Caring for your
Take the time to look at the in-depth information from our partner, Triage Cancer and the website “My Healthcare Finances” produced by Pfizer to learn more.
Caring for your
Our partner, Triage Cancer, provides free education on the practical and legal issues that can arise after a cancer diagnosis.
MyHealthcareFinances is a tool to help you better understand finances related to healthcare and steps you may take to lower your costs.
As you share the news of diagnosis you’ll get many offers of help. Accepting those offers can be a great way to reduce your stress and make those close to your feel needed.
A very useful blog article from Cancer.net called 6 Ways Relatives and Friends Can Help When You Have Cancer has some useful points:
Ask for help with practical tasks
Relatives and friends can help with practical tasks, such as driving you to and from appointments, doing the laundry, going grocery shopping, making meals, or running some errands. Someone could also help with scheduling appointments or handling insurance issues.
Bring someone along with you to appointments
Having someone with you at appointments to take notes is very helpful in making sure that the most important information is recorded. I have also seen relatives and friends serve as advisors and companions during appointments, sometimes taking an active role in conversations about treatment and asking insightful follow-up questions. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen them help by reporting symptoms, such as nausea or insomnia, to a clinician who can then provide a recommendation for treatment. It is essential that patients make sure that the person who comes with them to an appointment is a trusted companion. Be sure to let that person know why exactly they are going with you and what their role is.
Recognize the value of companionship
Cancer can be difficult to face alone. Remember that family and friends can help just by being present with you. These loved ones are often seen waiting patiently in hallways during radiation therapy sessions or sitting next to a patient who is receiving a long chemotherapy infusion. Just having someone nearby to support you can be a helpful reminder that you are not alone.
Put someone in charge of sharing your medical news
Receiving cancer treatment is tiring physically and emotionally. It can be particularly hard to share your medical information with others and answer the same questions repeatedly. Ask a trusted family member to communicate medical information to other family and friends, whether that is by phone, email, text message, blog post, or whatever method works best for your specific situation.
Don’t be afraid to lead the conversation
Often when someone is first diagnosed with cancer, relatives and friends may not know how to discuss cancer. It may bring up difficult emotions from their own past, or they may be simply afraid to mention cancer because they don’t know what to say or do. You or your primary caregiver can take the lead on conversations about your diagnosis, signaling what you’d like to discuss and what you don’t want to. By doing this, you or your caregiver can set the expectations of how to talk about it. Sometimes, it is just as important to simply tell people that you need to be listened to and not receive well-intentioned but unwelcome advice. And, it can be helpful to them to know when you want to talk about things other than cancer, such as interests you share.
Have an interpreter, if you need it
We live in an increasingly diverse society, so it is quite common that clinicians and patients may be from different countries or backgrounds. If you or your family and friends are not native English speakers, navigating the American health care system may be challenging due to language and cultural barriers. If this is the case, interpreters are essential to the cancer care setting. Professional medical interpreters are available in many cancer centers, either in person or through phone calls or video conferencing, to translate between the doctor and patient. And, a close relative or member of your community who is fluent in English may help with making or changing appointments, explaining a symptom, and other tasks. This person can also explain your beliefs and customs to the health care team, which can be essential to ensuring an effective and compassionate cancer treatment plan.
Reliable Resources for Cancer Information
NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE
From the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO)
NATIONAL COMPREHENSIVE CANCER NETWORK
Guidelines for Patients with Kidney Cancer
NATIONAL COMPREHENSIVE CANCER NETWORK
Pautas para Pacientes con Cáncer de Riñón (Español)
INTERNATIONAL KIDNEY CANCER COALITION
CANCER AND CAREERS
Strategies for Coping with Cancer in the Workplace
This helpful widget from the National Cancer Institute can help you with medical vocabulary:
Patient Resource Center sponsored by
“I have cancer. How do I tell my kids?”
Whether your children are young or are adults, discussing your diagnosis of kidney cancer for the first time is difficult. Here is some advice from experts to prepare for the conversation.
When Your Parent Has Cancer: A Guide for Teens
This guide is for young people who have a parent with cancer.
You are not alone! Find out what has helped other teens get through this tough time.
Our partner SmartPatients.com is a private forum of kidney cancer caregivers and patients sharing.
My Lifeline and Caringbridge are both free platforms that allow you connect your friends and family and keep them informed, while maintaining your privacy.
ASCO has a great list of additional support resources:
10 Healthy Habits to Care for Your Kidneys
Reduce Salt Intake
Lower High Blood Pressure
Manage Blood Sugar Levels
Moderate Protein Consumption
Follow a Balanced Diet
Control Your Weight
Discuss all new medications, including OTC drugs, with your doctor.
If you are concerned about your kidney function, discuss whether you need a nephrologist on your care team. Although most kidney cancer patients have good kidney function, patients with other health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure may benefit from the advice of a nephrologist. Discuss all supplements and new medications that you take with your oncologist.
Kidney Cancer Diet & Nutrition: A guide for patients and their families
Practical information to help people with kidney cancer understand the relationship between food and their body and also enjoy food and its related social experiences.
Tips for Managing Eating Problems
Eating problems can become common during cancer treatment.
Visit the link below for useful information about nutrition:
Employment Protections & Benefits
Cancer requires time off from work for both the patient and the caregiver. This 5 minute video gives advice and information about Employment Protections & Benefits.
Cancer Law & Finances
This is a collection of invaluable resources from Triagecancer.org discussing insurance, legal rights, and finances.
Avoiding the Financial Consequences of Cancer
This in-depth webinar gives you all the information you need for making a financial plan along with your medical plan.