At the American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary Cancers Symposium (ASCO GU) last weekend, the American kidney cancer patient organisation, KCCure, presented some early data from their survey of over 1000 patients from 28 countries, mostly the US (85%). 36% had stage 3 disease and 18% were offered treatment to stop their cancer from coming back after surgery (adjuvant therapy). Two thirds accepted, 19% declined and 14% were enrolled in a trial.

Nearly half of the people in the survey thought that their risk of the cancer coming back was higher (about 10-15%) than what their doctor thought. About a quarter of patients overestimated the benefit of adjuvant therapy, thinking it would reduce their risk of the cancer coming back by 50% or more. Most doctors explained what adjuvant treatment was and there were high levels of shared decision-making (80-90%). For people with a high risk of their cancer coming back, they were prepared to tolerate the side effects and reduced quality of life to prevent this.

This survey highlights the importance of effective communication between patients and their doctors on the risks and benefits of adjuvant therapy. It also highlights the importance of informed shared decision-making.