Self-management

Coping and support

Each person copes with a cancer diagnosis in his or her own way. Once the fear that comes with a diagnosis begins to lessen, you can find ways to help you cope with the daily challenges of cancer treatment and recovery. These coping strategies may help:

  • Learn enough about kidney cancer to feel comfortable making treatment decisions. Ask your doctor for details of your diagnosis, such as what type of cancer you have and the stage. This information can help you learn about the treatment options. Good sources of information include the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.
  • Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself during cancer treatment. Eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, be physically active when you feel up to it, and get enough sleep so that you wake feeling rested each day.
  • Take time for yourself. Set aside time for yourself each day. Time spent reading, relaxing or listening to music can help you relieve stress. Write your feelings down in a journal.
  • Gather a support network. Your friends and family are concerned about your health, so let them help you when they offer. Let them take care of everyday tasks — running errands, preparing meals and providing transportation — so that you can focus on your recovery. Talking about your feelings with close friends and family also can help you relieve stress and tension.
  • Get mental health counseling if needed. If you feel overwhelmed, depressed or so anxious that it's difficult to function, consider getting mental health counseling. Talk with your doctor or someone else from your health care team about getting a referral to a mental health professional, such as a certified social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist.

Prevention

Taking steps to improve your health may help reduce your risk of kidney cancer. To reduce your risk, try to:

  • Quit smoking. If you smoke, quit. Many options for quitting exist, including support programs, medications and nicotine replacement products. Tell your doctor you want to quit, and discuss your options together.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Work to maintain a healthy weight. If you're overweight or obese, reduce the number of calories you consume each day and try to be physically active most days of the week. Ask your doctor about other healthy strategies to help you lose weight.
  • Control high blood pressure. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure at your next appointment. If your blood pressure is high, you can discuss options for lowering your numbers. Lifestyle measures such as exercise, weight loss and diet changes can help. Some people may need to add medications to lower their blood pressure. Discuss your options with your doctor.