Understanding Your Kidney Cancer Diagnosis

A kidney cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. The first step is understanding your diagnosis. We’ve collected resources here to help you take the first steps.

The first days following a diagnosis are a difficult time. This video provides introductory information about your initial appointments to help you prepare. Further below, you’ll find resources with basic information, as well as links and brochures with more depth.

You’ll find printouts to take with you to doctor’s appointments, as well as video conversations that feature both doctors and patients.

VISIT THE TRANSCRIPTS PAGE FOR PRINTED NOTES FROM THE VIDEO

What Happens Next?

You’re told you have kidney cancer – now what? Join two kidney cancer patients as they talk with urologic oncologist Michael Palese about the process of getting care after a diagnosis in the video below.

These short, informative videos will help you understand more about your kidney cancer diagnosis and the next steps moving forward.

What is a Renal Mass?

This patient education video is from the Urology Care Foundation.

Surgical Options?

Learn about the surgical options for kidney cancer. This will help you get the most out of your consultation with the urologist and the urologic surgeon.

 

Presented by the National Kidney Foundation

Resources for New Patients

Click below to view two great printable brochures. “The Kidney Cancer Patient Guide” from the Urology Care Foundation gets you started with the basics. NCCN has also provided an excellent and comprehensive booklet for new patients.

Kidney cancer basics and questions to ask at initial appointments

This guide provided by the American Society of Clinical Oncologists includes frequently asked questions and facts about kidney cancer.
Click the image to download and open the pdf from ASCO.

Understand more about the treatment decision making process

Daniel George, MD, provides an overview of available treatment options in kidney cancer and remarks on the value of patient–physician collaboration in managing the disease. Video by CureToday.

Getting Started

Patients with a new diagnosis of ‘renal mass’ may meet several physicians with different, but similar sounding specialties. Here’s a quick list of physicians often on the kidney cancer oncology team.

UROLOGIST

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A Urologist is a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the urinary system. This is usually the first doctor that a patient with a new renal mass will be referred to. The urologist is typically the gatekeeper for referral to oncology care for patients with a mass suspicious for renal cancer.

Urologic oncologist

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A Urologic Oncologist is a urologist who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancers of the urinary tract, including surgical options. A urologic oncologist has a deep specialization in managing kidney cancer.

MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST

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A Medical Oncologist has specialized training in using drugs to treat cancer. Some medical oncologists specialize in genitourinary cancers. Patients whose cancer has spread beyond the kidney will usually be referred to a medical oncologist. They are often the oncology team member that will discuss available clinical trials with patients.

RADIATION ONCOLOGIST

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A Radiation Oncologist has special training in using radiation to treat cancer. While radiation is not a standard treatment for primary kidney masses, some patients whose cancer has spread will be referred to a radiation oncologist to help control a difficult or painful area.

People with a recent diagnosis of kidney cancer are strongly encouraged to make an appointment with a major research cancer center. Kidney cancer is not one of the most common cancers, so advice from specialists is ideal when possible. Learn more about building your care team and find the right doctors for you.

Building a Care Team

Reliable  Resources for Cancer Information
The internet is vast, and looking online for medical information or resources can be overwhelming. Here are some trustworthy sites to find information on kidney cancer.
NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE
www.cancer.gov
From the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO)
CANCER.NET
www.cancer.net
NATIONAL COMPREHENSIVE CANCER NETWORK
Guidelines for Patients with Kidney Cancer
www.nccn.org
NATIONAL COMPREHENSIVE CANCER NETWORK
Pautas para Pacientes con Cáncer de Riñón (Español)
www.nccn.org
INTERNATIONAL KIDNEY CANCER COALITION
www.ikcc.org
CANCER AND CAREERS
Strategies for Coping with Cancer in the Workplace
www.cancerandcareers.org

This helpful widget from the National Cancer Institute can help you with medical vocabulary:

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