Reporting by Joyce Wilcox Graff, Director of Wellness, VHL Family Alliance
As ever, the Kidney Cancer Symposium is stimulating and educational.
While we are always impatient with the speed of progress, it is amazing how far we have come in a short time. Progress is astounding. Ten years ago the standard of care was open radical nephrectomy. Five years ago we were moving toward partial nephrectomy but still had only IL-2. Today we have kinder, gentler surgical approaches and a growing selection of new drugs, though we are still learning how to apply them most beneficially. Imagine what the next five years will bring!
People with early stage tumors are recovering from treatment and living full lives. People with later-stage tumors have a much more difficult course of treatment and a much less certain future. One major component of lessening the suffering and death from kidney cancer is learning how to find kidney cancer at earlier stages. Still today most kidney cancer tumors are found after they become symptomatic and metastatic, though there is a rising number of “incidental findings” of earlier stage tumors. This is certainly fortuitous, but it would be even better if there were biomarkers to identify the presence of cancer and the need for follow-up screening during a routine doctor’s visit.
I appreciate the opportunity to hear this rich series of talks, and to report on the proceedings for the patients who were not able to attend. I will convey here my impression of the key points of the sessions I am reporting. Others will cover the remaining sessions.
Videos of the full talks are available on the KCA website.
The agenda and slides from many presentations are available at: http://kca.omnibooksonline.com/chicago2011
Read Joyce’s full report (PDF).
[More summaries here]