Kidney Cancer Canada is helping patients, caregivers, and health care professionals through support, education, and advocacy.
Kidney cancer is a unique and often silent disease with no apparent symptoms until it’s advanced or found incidentally by ultrasound or scan. Symptoms may include flank or back pain, a lump or a thickening, and blood in the urine. When diagnosed at a more advanced stage, options for treatment can be challenging.
Understanding the diagnostic journey
The diagnosis of a kidney mass doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s kidney cancer. It’s possible that the mass is a benign growth. First, a urologist would see the patient. A biopsy would determine the type, stage, and grade of the mass and the next steps required. If the tumour is relatively small and localized (early stage), active surveillance with close monitoring and regular diagnostic tests, or surgery to completely remove the tumour, are the most common treatments. There are different options available for surgery methods and minimally invasive treatment, such as radiofrequency ablation or cryoablation, depending on the size, position, and complexity of the tumour.
When the cancer is advanced, systemic treatment would be prescribed and monitored by an oncologist and could be used in conjunction with surgery or radiation therapy. Immunotherapy offers excellent treatment options. Clinical trials offer access to new research treatments and expert medical care.
Resources and support are available
The good news is that patients with kidney cancer today are living and thriving. It’s vital for Canadians diagnosed with or caring for someone with kidney cancer to educate themselves about the disease and treatment options so they can make the best possible decisions with their doctor for their individual situation.
Kidney Cancer Canada can help! We’re a national community of patients, caregivers, and health care professionals who work together to provide every Canadian touched by kidney cancer with support, information, education, and advocacy. Our website has a wealth of information, including our Video Knowledge Library presented by kidney cancer specialists from across Canada.
Resources are available on nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, stress management, and one-to-one peer support, and our Coffee Chats offer a safe environment for patients and caregivers to talk, share experiences, and discuss all topics.
To learn more visit kidneycancercanada.ca.