Expert oncologist Hans Hammers, MD, PhD, spearheads an overview on renal cell carcinoma, covering its current incidence and known risk factors.
Hans Hammers, MD, PhD: Welcome to the CancerNetwork® patient journey program titled, “Diagnosis and Treatment of Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma: Expert and Patient Perspectives.” I’m your host, Dr Hans Hammers. I’m a professor of medicine at UT [University of Texas] Southwestern [Medical Center]. I have a great panel of health care providers from my team, as well as a patient and her caregiver for this virtual discussion on renal cell carcinoma. I would like to invite my fellow panelists to introduce themselves.
Linie Chi, NP: Hi, my name is Linie Chi. I’m a registered nurse working in oncology.
Laura Sanza, PhD, MPAS, PA-C: Hi, I’m Laura Sanza. I’m a physician assistant, and I’ve worked in oncology for over 20 years.
Kaitlin Blalock, NP: Hi, I’m Kaitlin Blalock, the patient’s granddaughter and caregiver.
Terri Blalock: Hi, I’m Terri Blalock, and I am the patient.
Hans Hammers, MD, PhD: Thank you so much for joining me today. We’re going to discuss how we diagnose kidney cancer and some of the treatment options, but more importantly, patient education, communication strategies, and hear the patient perspective through this journey. Let’s begin.
I thought I’d give a quick overview of renal cell carcinoma. Each year, we diagnose 80,000 patients in the United States with renal cell carcinoma. Most of these are now small tumors often found accidentally through getting imaging studies for a completely different reason. Unfortunately, still 14,000 to 15,000 patients die per year from renal cell carcinoma, so it certainly remains a challenge. The most common type of renal cell carcinoma is clear cell renal cell carcinoma. There’s a unique biology; I will go into that in a bit when we talk about treatment options, but it’s the vast majority of cases as small renal masses. In particular, if you see disease that has already spread, there’s roughly a 90% chance that you will encounter clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Two-thirds of my patients are men. The median age of diagnosis is around 64. There are some risk factors associated with renal cell carcinoma. As with most cancers, there’s an impact from smoking. There’s an impact from chronic kidney tissue damage, there can be hypertension for many years. There are also some occupational hazards, if you’re exposed to heavy metals, for example.
Transcript edited for clarity.