Patient Resource Center
We’ve put together a list of common questions we often get from patients, as well as links to relevant information for those just starting to form a plan for a newly-diagnosed renal mass.
Our goal is to inform without adding to the overwhelm you’re already experiencing. We have reliable resources of information to help you as you begin to learn about kidney cancer.
A Kidney Cancer Diagnosis
What is a renal mass?
“We see a mass on your kidney.” Perhaps you heard this statement after a CT or ultrasound that was performed for another reason, and you are wondering what is going to happen next. Kidney cancer is also referred to as a “renal mass” which is an abnormal growth in the kidney.
Why didn’t my doctor find my kidney cancer sooner?
There is no screening test for kidney cancer so it is usually discovered by chance or after symptoms develop. Genetic health conditions can increase a risk for kidney cancer. Additional testing is usually required to make a good plan for your care.
There are so many medical words that I don’t understand!
You’ll soon become very familiar with the terminology and acronyms used in your care. In the meantime, here’s a tool to help. Enter the word you’d like explained in this dictionary of cancer terms provided by the National Cancer Institute:
Listen as Dr. Hans Hammers of UT Southwestern talks about diagnosis, early doctor visits, second opinions, shared decision making, and the early planning process.
Building your 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.
How is kidney cancer treated?
In this case, resources created by the International Kidney Cancer Coalition called “My Treatment, My Choices” might be very helpful. These informational PDFs include workbooks to help you understand your options, ask the right questions at your appointments, and make a care plan.
Traditional “chemotherapy” isn’t used for most types of kidney cancer.
Should I join a clinical trial?
The word “trial” can be a little intimidating. Most of us would prefer known treatments, certain outcomes. Unfortunately, for many cancer patients, trials are their best hope. Trials are also how we make progress toward cures. Talk to your doctor about whether a clinical trial could be right for you.
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.