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HOUSTON – July 30, 2020 – The Kidney Cancer Association (KCA) launched three new programs today to support and educate kidney cancer patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. The Just Diagnosed Toolkit, the Patient Navigator Program, and a kidney cancer-focused certified medical education (CME) program further the KCA’s mission to serve and educate the kidney cancer community through high-quality programs.

Just Diagnosed Toolkit

The Just Diagnosed Toolkit is an online resource that helps guide people with a recent kidney cancer diagnosis through learning about their cancer, finding the right specialist for an accurate diagnosis, exploring their treatment options, and finding support. The Toolkit aims to reduce the anxiety of a new kidney cancer diagnosis by providing accurate, step-by-step information that is accessible to anyone. The Toolkit was created in partnership with the KCA’s Clinical Advisory Board (CAB) and Patient and Caregiver Advisory Council (PCAC). The Toolkit will be updated periodically with tip sheets and it will be available as a printed booklet in late 2020.

Patient Navigator Program

The Patient Navigator Program enables anyone impacted by kidney cancer to speak directly to a Patient Liaison for one-on-one support and education. Patients, caregivers, and family members can contact the Patient Navigator Program to learn more about a kidney cancer diagnosis, financial assistance, local support services, or get help locating a kidney cancer specialist. The KCA’s Patient Liaison, Rosemary Chustak, is a seasoned patient services professional with experience in social work and patient advocacy. For clinical questions, Chustak is supported by kidney cancer experts from the KCA’s Clinical Advisory Board and Medical Steering Committee as well as the KCA’s established nurse call line.

“The Just Diagnosed Toolkit and Patient Navigator Program are new and much-needed resources for patients, caregivers, and families impacted by kidney cancer,” said Courtney Firak, MPH, the KCA’s Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships. “We developed them together with people who have both expertise and personal experience with kidney cancer. That’s why they highlight some key ideas, like the importance of getting an accurate diagnosis from a specialist. We hope these new tools and services will help people impacted by kidney cancer feel personally supported and empowered to make the best decisions possible for their care.”

CME Programming

For the first time, the KCA will be bringing certified medical education (CME) programming to healthcare professionals interested in advancing their clinical knowledge of kidney cancer in ways that positively impact patient care. Through virtual lecture series and virtual tumor boards, these accredited activities are a new way for healthcare professionals to learn from kidney cancer experts. The KCA has partnered with The France Foundation, a leading medical education company, to develop the kidney cancer-focused CME program.

“We recognized a significant gap in online kidney cancer medical education,” said Dr. Christopher G. Wood, Chair of the KCA’s Board of Directors and a surgeon and professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. “These CME programs address that gap and the virtual format expands the educational opportunities to community oncologists and urologists who may not otherwise be able to access such specialized information or attend the KCA’s international symposiums.” 

“These three programs are important initiatives for the kidney cancer community,” said Gretchen E. Vaughan, President and CEO of the KCA. “Educating healthcare professionals is a critical part of helping people with kidney cancer have the best outcomes possible. With the patient-focused programs, the goal was to help show everyone, whether they’re recently diagnosed or not, the concrete steps they can take to achieve their best quality of life as well as understand that they’re not alone.”

Over half a million people live with kidney cancer in the US and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program estimates 73,750 people will be newly diagnosed with kidney and renal pelvis cancer in the US this year while an estimated 14,830 people with this type of cancer will die. Kidney cancer is twice as common in men than in women and the average age at diagnosis is 64, with most people diagnosed between ages 65-74.

The Just Diagnosed Toolkit and the Patient Navigator Program are supported by Bristol Myers Squibb. Access the Just Diagnosed Toolkit, the Patient Navigator Program, and the CME programming at the KCA’s website www.kidneycancer.org.


About the Kidney Cancer Association

The Kidney Cancer Association is a global community dedicated to serving and empowering patients and caregivers, and leading change through advocacy, research, and education in order to be the universal leader in finding the cure for kidney cancer. Founded in 1990 by Eugene P. Schonfeld and a small group of patients and doctors in Chicago, Illinois, the KCA has grown into an international non-profit organization based in Houston, Texas. The KCA promotes scientific advances through two annual research symposiums and a robust grant program, participates in legislative advocacy, and seeks to be a source of education and resources for patients, caregivers, and anyone impacted by kidney cancer.

Media Contact:

Radha Chitale

Director of Communications

847.332.1051 ext. 113 | [email protected]