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Ask the Experts: Common questions about kidney cancer and COVID-19

We gathered top kidney cancer experts to answer patients’ questions about how kidney cancer and the novel coronavirus COVID-19 impact each other.


Who is at increased risk for COVID-19?

Certain groups of people have an increased risk of getting severely ill from a COVID-19 infection including older adults and people with serious underlying medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes.

Are people with cancer at increased risk? What about people with kidney cancer?

People with cancer are another group with an increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19 infection. This is because cancer itself or cancer treatments can weaken the immune system.

In this Uromigos podcast episode called “COVID-19 and Renal Cancer: A Patient’s Perspective”, the hosts and guest discuss kidney cancer surgery and treatment in the context of COVID-19, what some of the unknown factors are (there are many), and what questions patients may want to ask their doctors.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Emergency warning signs for COVID-19 require medical attention immediately. They include :

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

The CDC has guidance on what to do if you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and become sick.

How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 mainly spreads between people through respiratory droplets produced when someone coughs or sneezes, according to the CDC. It may also be possible for someone to get COVID-19 by touching something that has the virus on it and then touching their face (mouth, nose, and eyes).

How can you prevent infection?

Getting a vaccine, wearing a mask, maintaining 6 feet of distance from those you don’t live with, avoiding crowds and poorly ventliated indoor spaces, and hand hygiene are the CDC-recommended ways to prevent infection and slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

People at increased risk may need to ask their healthcare provider about additional steps.

Good Hand Hygiene

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially the eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover your face and throw it in the trash immediately.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects often.

Stress Management

Taking care of your mental health in challenging times is important. COVID Cancer Care is a stress management program that helps you assess your stress levels and offers tools for stress relief using cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation therapy, which has been used and studied extensively in cancer patient populations for over 20 years.

COVID Cancer Care was developed by Blue Note Therapeutics to help cancer patients cope with COVID-19-related stress and anxiety.

A Virtual Town Hall | Kidney Cancer Care in the Time of COVID-19

Thought leaders across the US share their perspectives and the latest information on kidney cancer care during COVID-19. 

This page is updated periodically. Please check back for updates.