Treatments for kidney cancer result can cause various side effects and changes to the body of the patient. The results of treatment show variations among the patients, and so, the same treatment strategy used for a particular disease condition can impact different people differently. Hence, it is difficult to predict the outcome and impact of a specific treatment. Therefore, it is essential to adopt various coping-up strategies to mitigate the side effects of the treatment. Open communication with an expert regarding the signs and symptoms experienced by the patients helps plan ways to manage and relieve these symptoms and side effects effectively.
The patients seek professional therapies to mitigate the adverse emotional impacts during the treatment of kidney cancer. The general physical side effects of each treatment option for early-stage and locally advanced kidney cancer are addressed by adopting supportive or palliative care provided by the healthcare team. Patients and their families are motivated to communicate with the medical team about their financial concerns. As there are several services that help in particularly treating cancer patients. Caregivers also play an essential role in caring for a person with kidney cancer. Therefore, it is important to maintain an effective communication with the healthcare team regarding the side effects.
Coping-up Treatment for Kidney Cancer
Cancer treatments can cause various side effects and changes to your body and the effects of treatment can also vary from person to person. Moreover, the treatment strategies used for a particular disease condition can impact in different ways. Hence, it is hard to predict the outcome and impact of a specific treatment on people.
Patients can feel anxious about treating cancerous growths in the kidney, which is quite natural. Even so, side effects, that are short-term or long-term are an inevitable part of such treatments. And so, the patients must know that managing and relieving symptoms and side effects is integral to treating kidney cancers or any disease condition. The health care team will devise strategies to prevent and cure possible side effects of treatment 1. And this is called supportive or palliative care. It is an essential, inevitable part of treatment, regardless of the tumor type, disease gravity, age, or gender of the patient.
Coping with the physical side effects of treatment
Treating kidney cancer can cause many physical side effects. It can bring a wide range of changes to your body. The variations in the physical health of a person are influenced by factors like the type of tumor, its severity, treatment strategy used, the duration of treatment, and the overall health condition of the patient. Patients should talk with their healthcare team regularly regarding how they are feeling and also make sure to let them know about any discomfort you are experiencing. Openly communicate any new signs or symptoms to your doctor as and when you start experiencing them. The same applies to the case of any new symptoms or a change in existing side effects. Talking with your doctor or healthcare team is vital, as only then they can plan ways to manage and relieve these symptoms and side effects effectively.
Treating side effects and signs at the right time prevents the patient’s condition from worsening and helps them lead a comfortable life. Please keep track of anybody changes or side effects that you experience, as it will help you explain the scenario more effortlessly to the health care team. Physical side effects can be short-term and long-term. Long-term side effects or late effects can last for an extended period, even after the active treatment period. Treating these late effects forms a vital part of the survivorship care plan.
Managing the barriers to treatment and care
Disease conditions can vary from one person to another. The outcomes of disease diagnosis and treatment can vary. There is no necessity for cases of similar disease conditions to share similar features. Such differences and variations can be called “health disparities.” Many communities and groups are denied quality medical care in the real world. The groups negatively affected include poor people, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ or sexual and gender minorities, older adults, adolescents and young adult populations, and people belonging to rural areas etc. If you face difficulty accessing quality treatment and care, communicate the concern with your doctor or health care team 2.
Coping with social and emotional effects of treatment
Kidney cancer and its treatment can take a tremendous toll on the physical and mental well-being of the patient. Patients may experience many social and emotional effects after being diagnosed with a tumor. People will go through a lot of emotional, and mental turmoil. They will find it tedious to manage emotions like grief, sadness, anger, and anxiety. They will find it difficult to calm their mind and manage their stress level. Often people find it difficult to express their feelings and emotions to their close ones. In such cases, patients can seek professional therapies. Talking with a counselor or oncology social worker can also help effectively cope with the emotional effects of cancer 3.
Managing the costs of cancer care
Kidney cancer treatment can be financially straining. This thought can create a lot of stress and anxiety in the patients and their family members. For many people, finance stands as a hindrance to seeking better treatment.
Some patients find that they had a lot of unplanned, extra expenses concerning their treatment. And some people are forced to leave the treatment plan halfway because of being unable to manage the enormous cost. Such scenarios can have a very adverse impact on the health and life of the patient. Hence, patients are encouraged to talk about their financial troubles with a concerned health care team member. Nonetheless, many services and packages are now available that can help patients manage their treatment costs without much worry or tension.
Role of Caregivers
Caregivers play a significant role in caring for a person suffering from cancerous growth in the kidney (or any disease condition in general). It can usually be family and friends who stand by the patients from the beginning, that is, from disease diagnosis, to treatment until post-treatment care (sometimes even after that).
Caregivers have a range of responsibilities to manage and fulfill daily:
- Giving emotional and physical support to the patients. Encouraging them to do activities.
- Cheering them up.
- Communicate with the health care team. Caregivers are urged to accompany the patients during appointments and keep track of everything the doctor prescribes and advice.
- Giving food and medicines on time.
- Help patients cope with various symptoms and side effects.
- They should coordinate the appointments of the patient with the health care team.
- Managing the transport of the patient for appointments.
- Handling financial aspects like bills and insurance.
- Helping the patient with household chores and other daily activities.
Communication with the health care team regarding side effects
Open conversations with the doctor are essential in treating disease conditions associated with the kidney. Patients are encouraged to ask questions to the health care team or doctor regarding the side effects of treatment. They can ask:
- What are the probable side effects of the treatment?
- Explain the short term and long-term side effects?
- When are these side effects likely to happen, and for how long?
- How can we prevent, manage and relieve them?
Be sure to communicate any change that you are experiencing. Patients should care to express even the tiniest effects or feelings that they are experiencing to the healthcare team.
Seek their help to create a caregiving plan. Enquire how much care and support (physical, mental) you will require at home. Do not hesitate to ask anything that comes to your mind regarding treatment, side effects or post-treatment care.
- 1.Cassell A, Jalloh M, Yunusa B, et al. Management of Renal Cell Carcinoma—Current Practice in Sub-Saharan Africa. jkcvhl. Published online December 2, 2019:1-9. doi:10.15586/jkcvhl.2019.122
- 2.Beisland E, Beisland C, Hjelle KM, Bakke A, Aarstad AKH, Aarstad HJ. Health-related quality of life, personality and choice of coping are related in renal cell carcinoma patients. Scandinavian Journal of Urology. Published online December 17, 2014:282-289. doi:10.3109/21681805.2014.990051
- 3.Draeger DL, Sievert KD, Hakenberg OW. Analysis of psychosocial stress factors in patients with renal cancer. Therapeutic Advances in Urology. Published online February 18, 2018:175-182. doi:10.1177/1756287218754766