Rachel Giles, M.D., Ph.D.
Chair, International Kidney Cancer Coalition
The International Kidney Cancer Coalition’s (IKCC) 2018 global patient survey found that 96% of kidney cancer respondents experienced psychosocial issues including anxiety and fear. Approximately half of people don’t talk about their issues with family, friends or their health team.
A kidney cancer diagnosis can have a profound effect on the lives of patients, leaving them feeling overwhelmed, lonely or even depressed.
“This past year, cancer patients have faced many additional issues that have had a psychological impact on them,” says Dr Rachel Giles, Chair of IKCC. “This includes ongoing uncertainties in their treatment regimens, delayed surgeries and the general stress of living with the everyday challenges of the pandemic.”
increasingly, we’re learning just how important mental health is both for effective and timely recovery and quality of life during and after treatment.
World Kidney Cancer Day on 17th June will raise awareness for and address these issues. The theme of this year’s campaign is, ‘We need to talk about how we’re feeling.’
Kidney patients around the world will be asked to complete their own Personalised Psychological Wellbeing Report. This report is aimed to help people get a better understanding of their own situation and start conversations with others, including healthcare professionals about how they’re feeling.
The psychosocial impact of kidney cancer
Around the world, kidney cancer treatment tends to focus exclusively on physical health. But increasingly, we’re learning just how important mental health is both for effective and timely recovery and quality of life during and after treatment.
Given the increased isolation so many kidney cancer patients have experienced during lockdowns, their loss of social support, compromised access to health services, increased financial stress and feeling extra vulnerable about their health, the past year and a half has been one of the hardest times imaginable to be living with cancer. This World Kidney Cancer Day initiative couldn’t have come at a better time.