Questions about Support
What is the impact of kidney cancer on my life?
Getting diagnosed with cancer has a great impact on your life and the lives of your loved ones. It can cause feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, fear or even depression. Undergoing treatment for cancer is intense and will affect your work and social life. To find support, approach your doctor or nurse. They will be able to give you contact information about patient organizations or others who can help you with psychological support, or practical matters such as financial advice.
You may worry about your prognosis, the impact of treatment on your financial situation, or other issues. It is common to worry about the cancer coming back. Most people who have been diagnosed with cancer, or their loved ones, will probably have these worries and thoughts. If you feel worried, contact your doctor and find out the risks of cancer recurrence. You can also ask the doctor about psychological support if you feel you need to have someone to talk to. A patient organization can also offer support.
During treatment you will be away from your work. Talk to your boss about the best way for you to get back to work. Perhaps you could work part time, or in a different function.
Discuss with your health care team the possible financial consequences of your treatment. They might be able to direct you to people or places where you can get advice about your economic situation or even financial help.
Surgery and cancer treatment can affect your sexuality. For example, men may experience erectile dysfunction as a side effect of antiangiogenic therapy. Feelings of depression and fatigue can also have a negative effect on your sexual life. It is important that you talk to your partner about your feelings. There are many ways in which you can be intimate. If you do not want to be sexually active, be near each other, touch each other, give and take hugs, and just sit and/or lay down close to each other.
What if my kidney cancer cannot be cured?
Sometimes recovery from kidney cancer is not possible. When treatment is no longer successful you may be offered palliative care to make you more comfortable.
Palliative care is a concept of care with the goal to optimize your quality of life if you cannot recover from your illness. During palliative care you and your loved ones are supported by a multidisciplinary team. Together you address physical, psychological, social, and spiritual questions. Palliative care includes controlling your symptoms and medical treatment for pain management.
The palliative care team can provide care in the hospital or at your home. Another option is hospice care. A hospice is an institution which provides care during the final phase of your life.
I have a family member or friend who has kidney cancer, how can I help?
A cancer diagnosis not only affects the patient, but also the people around them. You can offer support in many different ways. Sometimes you can help with practical things like laundry, gardening, or grocery shopping.
It may also be helpful to go to the doctor together. You could offer to drive to the visit or help formulate questions to ask during consultation. Being there for the consult can also be good. You may remember different things or focus on other details, which you can later discuss together. You could also ask the doctor how the treatment may impact your lives in terms of caregiving and psychological effects.
Patient organizations can also help with more practical matters and financial support.
I have a family member or friend who has kidney cancer, where can I get support?
The cancer diagnosis and treatment can be very emotional. Cancer treatment is intense and your life may change suddenly. Questions about prognosis, effects of the treatment, and even the possibility of dying may come up. As family or friends you can be there and listen. You don’t need to have the answers.
If you feel you need somebody to talk to, approach your family doctor or the medical team to get support. Patient organizations also offer support for family members or friends of people who have been diagnosed with cancer.