Renal Cell Carcinoma: Practical Advice for Patients, Caregivers, and Physicians


Practical advice on the management of renal cell carcinoma provided for healthcare professionals, patients, and caregivers alike.


Hans Hammers, MD, PhD: Our session is coming to an end, so in closing, I was wondering if we can all go around and deliver one last message that you may have for fellow patients and fellow caregivers? Terri, you may want to start?

Terri Blalock: Yes. Listen to your body. I did not listen to my body and it's very important to listen to your body even if you think it's stupid stuff. Think about the treatments and listen to your doctor. That's very important. That's my opinion.

Kaitlin Blalock, NP: I'll agree with my grandmother on this. Definitely listen to your body. If you have abnormal signs of just extreme fatigue, like if you go home and are not able to get up and work, or if you're having persistent pain and a persistent cough, then definitely go and check it out with your primary care physician. Then, not only that, if you do have a family member that is diagnosed, just be a good support system because the doctors and the health care team can take care of the medications, but the other side of it is having a good mentality and a positive outlook on this. Unfortunately, this is not just a quick fix, it's a marathon, not a race, so we definitely tried to provide my grandmother with that support mentally, physically, and spiritually. Just find your own point of care medically, but find a way to support your family member in whatever ways that they need assistance in.

Linie Chi, NP: I would say that it's teamwork. When you come in, it's building that relationship and it's a definitive thing. No one wants to be in the cancer center, but I find it's easier for the long-term relationship when you get to know them not just on the cancer level. You may get to know the grandchildren, and then the small things you ask about them crack a smile every once in a while and it ends up just being worth it in the end. I would tell the patients that no question is stupid, as I've heard before, and there's an answer for all classes of questions. There's always answers if you ask and we're always here to help.

Hans Hammers, MD, PhD:Wonderful.

Laura Sanza, PhD, MPAS, PA-C: While I want to point out that the patient is always in control, I also like to encourage being open to the village, if you will. I know it can be cumbersome when being referred to so many different specialists, but I've also had the feedback from patients such as, “I didn't want to go see that endocrinologist because I felt my sugar levels were just fine, but since they started me on a certain regimen, my life has completely changed.” I've had that feedback after they've seen palliative care, after they've had some physical therapy, and after they've seen a specialist that they didn't necessarily want to see, so I would just stress to be open to the multidisciplinary approach because the hope in the end is that it will benefit them.

Hans Hammers, MD, PhD: Yes, I have the very same message. This is all teamwork; this is a village. It's a very complex, daunting journey and the more people that I involve in a loving, caring, and professional way, the better things are going to be. With that said, I would like to thank my wonderful panelists and thank you for taking the time and giving your views, impressions, and advice to the community. Thank you so much.

Transcript edited for clarity.

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