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Talking to Your Healthcare Provider About Kidney Cancer

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about your personal risk factors and/or experience with kidney cancer. By talking openly and regularly with your healthcare provider, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your healthcare provider:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider

About Kidney Cancer
  • What is the stage of my kidney cancer?
  • What type of kidney cancer is it?
  • Was it caught early or has it spread?
About Treatment Options
  • How do I best treat kidney cancer?
    • What are the risks and benefits associated with this treatment plan?
    • What other options are there?
    • How long will the treatments last?
    • What side effects can I expect?
    • What will I need to change in my daily routine?
    • How will I feel during treatment?
    • What will I need to do to take care of myself during the treatment period?
    • What will we do if the treatment does not succeed?
About Lifestyle Changes
  • How can I find help to quit smoking?
  • Are there other lifestyle changes I can make to help my prognosis?
About Outlook
  • How likely is it that my treatments will kill all the cancer cells?
  • How do I know that my treatment program is effective?
  • Should I consider participating in a clinical trial?
  • Do you know of any support groups or other patients I can talk with?

Revision Information

  • About kidney cancer. Kidney Cancer Association website. Available at: http://www.kidneycancer.org/knowledge/learn/about-kidney-cancer . Updated January 29, 2013. Accessed June 20, 2013.

  • Kidney cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/kidneycancer/index . Accessed June 20, 2013.

  • Kidney cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/kidney . Accessed June 20, 2013.