Kidney Cancer: What to do after diagnosis

  • The American Cancer Society notes that by 2021, more than 76,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with kidney cancer.
  • The toughest part of having kidney cancer is right after diagnosis.
  • After kidney cancer diagnosis, there are some steps you could take to help you cope with, and manage and treat your condition.

The prevalence of kidney cancer is increasing because of the use of advanced imaging techniques that leads to the accidental discovery of the condition. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), more than 76,000 people will be included in the list of diagnosed kidney cancer patients by 2021. 

Being diagnosed with kidney cancer is a traumatic and major life event, according to Evan T. Hall, an oncologist at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. He adds that the toughest period is right after diagnosis when the care and treatment plan for the patient is being organized and finalized. Dr. Hall shares some ways how you can cope with a kidney cancer diagnosis and prepare yourself for treatment.

1. Get informed about your specific kidney cancer.

With cancer, it is classified according to its stage depending on the size of the tumor and the extent to which tumor cells have spread. It can be at Stage 1, the earliest stage, or Stage 4, the most advanced stage. For kidney cancer, it can also be defined according to type, whether it is renal cell carcinoma, urothelial carcinoma, sarcoma, lymphoma, or Wilms tumor. According to the ACS, out of 10 kidney cancer cases, 9 of them are renal cell carcinoma.

Your treatment will depend on your cancer type, the cancer stage you are at, your overall condition, and other factors, so you must know more information about your condition.

2. Choose reliable sources.

When it comes to kidney cancer treatment, it is very important to get facts from reliable and trustworthy sources like previous kidney-cancer-related studies. A review of a study published in the June 2018 Clinical Advances in Hematology and Oncology journal shared that there are now newer medical and surgical technologies that can improve the prognosis of advanced cases of kidney cancer.

Treatments before do not allow patients to live long but now several immunotherapy treatments can extend the life of many patients to many years. You can research at the US National Library of Medicine or American Cancer Society to get more reliable and worthy kidney cancer information. 

3. Know all the people who can help you with your kidney cancer treatment and management.

The management and treatment of your kidney cancer, including the people who will help you will depend on the stage you are at. If you are in the early stages, a surgeon will be in charge of removing the affected parts of the kidney. You will be referred to an oncologist if you are in the advanced stage. Your team can also include nurses, nutritionists, and psychologists.

4. Understand all possible treatment options.

Different stages require different treatment approaches. For stage 1-2, surgery may be enough with follow-up periodic scans, and medications may not be needed. If cancer has already spread beyond the kidneys, advanced treatment is required, including surgery, radiation, immunotherapy medications, and targeted drug therapies. Dr. Hall explains that immunotherapy and targeted therapies can be used one at a time or in combination, depending on the kidney stage you have.

5. Get support from loved ones.

Undergoing cancer treatment can have side effects like diarrhea, fatigue, lack of appetite, and weight loss. During these times, it is helpful if family members and friends can help you with chores or child care. It is also crucial to have loved ones at your side to help you cope with stress and uncertainty during your situation. Dr. Hall recommends joining support groups as they can also provide emotional support and give information on what worked best for them in their situations.

6. Stay healthy.

Getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet even after being diagnosed is also a good way to empower yourself. The healthcare professionals in your team can help you maintain your physical and mental health.


 

Source: Everyday Health


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