Kidney Cancer: Survivorship & Support

Your doctor will continue to see you regularly for follow-up examinations and tests after your treatment is complete in order to monitor your health and to detect cancer recurrence or spread, should it occur. If you experience any new symptoms, please contact your doctor right away. The sooner your symptoms are evaluated and treated, the better your outcome will be.

For patients who have been treated for kidney cancer, there is an approximately 5 percent chance of a tumor developing in the other, healthy kidney during the patient's lifetime. That is why at Memorial Sloan Kettering we recommend and provide long-term follow-up care. In the event of this rare occurrence, our nephrology team is prepared to surgically remove tumors in a solitary kidney.

Access Information about Your Care

Memorial Sloan Kettering has developed a secure website — called MYMSKCC — for patients to access personalized information about their care. Patients who enroll to use MYMSKCC can view and keep track of appointments; access and pay bills; make changes to contact and insurance information; and send and receive secure electronic messages to and from their nurse.

To enroll in or learn more about MYMSKCC, please ask a session assistant in clinic or contact your physician's office.

Other Aspects of Survivorship

To help patients manage some of the other issues that may arise after cancer treatment, Memorial Sloan Kettering offers a wide range of programs for cancer survivors, including the following:

Memorial Sloan Kettering Counseling Center & Smoking Cessation

Our Counseling Center offers individual and family counseling sessions to help cancer survivors and their families address problems they may encounter in adjusting to life during and after treatment.

Although not everyone who develops kidney cancer has a history of cigarette smoking, it is a major risk factor for this disease. If you do smoke, you can reduce your risk of developing a second cancer by stopping now. The Counseling Center offers a smoking cessation program for cancer patients who would like help quitting. We understand the unique challenge of quitting while dealing with the stresses of treatment and fears of recurrence. The program also welcomes family members who want to stop smoking together.

Living Beyond Cancer

People facing the challenges of cancer survivorship can access a variety of support services through the Living Beyond Cancer section of our website. This section includes information about professionally led support groups and counseling; survivorship clinics to manage the late effects of cancer and its treatment; recommendations about screening and healthy living; and specialized services to address sexual and reproductive health. We also offer a range of resources to help survivors, families, and friends better understand the complex emotional and social issues that may arise following treatment.

Additional services are offered through our Resources for Life After Cancer program, which provides a full range of educational support services, including individual and family counseling, periodic lectures or workshops to provide medical updates, and practical guidance on employment and insurance issues.

Rehabilitation Therapy

After receiving treatment for kidney cancer, a patient may notice changes in his or her range of motion, strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance. Rehabilitation therapy provides a means to improve function and mobility after surgery, chemotherapy, or other treatments. Memorial Sloan Kettering's physical therapists work closely with patients to design an individualized treatment and exercise plan to increase each patient's strength, endurance, and balance. See the Rehabilitation section of our Web site for further information about our services, including appointment information.

Integrative Medicine Service

Our Integrative Medicine Service complements other medical care by addressing the physical and emotional symptoms associated with cancer and its treatment. We offer various types of massage, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, meditation, visualization and other mind-body therapies, music therapy, and nutritional counseling, as well as classes such as yoga, t'ai chi, and chair aerobics.

Help for Older Patients

A diagnosis of cancer is difficult at any age, but older patients face unique challenges. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is committed to providing cancer patients aged 65 and older with the treatment, facilities, and support they need.

Memorial Sloan Kettering offers the services of a multidisciplinary geriatrics team, which includes physicians, clinical nurse specialists, social workers, nutritionists, and psychiatrists, as well as members of the Palliative Medicine Service and the Integrative Medicine Service. The programs and care the team provides focus on the needs of elderly cancer patients.

For more information about our services for older patients as well as for their family and friends, visit the Help for Older Patients section of our Web site.

Sexual Health

Sexuality can be affected by cancer and its treatment. Memorial Sloan Kettering has many physicians, nurses, social workers, and psychologists who are familiar with sexual health problems as they relate to cancer treatment and can help you address your concerns. For more information, visit the Sexual Health section of our Web site.

Screening & Wellness

Memorial Sloan Kettering provides numerous prevention, screening, and wellness services. Information about these services; up-to-date information on cancer screening tests and guidelines; step-by-step instructions for a variety of self-exams; and guidance on how to stop smoking and how to follow a healthy diet can be found on our Web site in the Prevention & Screening section.