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. Below, you’ll find resources with basic information and with more depth are included.

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 on 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 a little about the surgical options for kidney cancer. This will help you get more 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. Urology Care Foundation “The Kidney Cancer Patient Guide” gets you started with the basics. NCCN has 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 mass suspicious for renal cancer.

Urologic oncologist

______________

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. Some are particularly interested in kidney cancer and in offering kidney cancer clinical trials to their patients. Patients whose cancer has spread beyond the kidney will usually be referred to a medical oncologist.

RADIATION ONCOLOGIST

______________

A Radiation Oncologist has special training in using radiation to treat cancer. While radiation is not standard for all kidney cancer patients, some whose cancer has spread will have a referral to a radiation oncologist to help with control of a difficult or painful area.

We strongly encourage new patients to make an appointment with a major research cancer center. Kidney cancer is not one of the most common cancers, so specialty center advice 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:

Understanding Your Kidney Cancer Diagnosis

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Latest News

Remembering Ralph: Time Well Spent

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Ralph Knapp was diagnosed in 2014 with stage IV kidney cancer and used the opportunity to increase research funding and bring hope to patients everywhere. With heavy hearts and profound sadness, we announce the passing of Ralph Knapp, a founder of KidneyCAN and leader of our mission to accelerate...