World Kidney Cancer Day 2021 was on Thursday 17 June. The theme of this year’s campaign was “We need to talk about how we’re feeling” to raise awareness and address the psychosocial issues experienced by kidney cancer patients, both within the UK and on a global scale. This campaign was confounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the shielding of vulnerable cancer patients. KCSN led the promotional activities in the UK to help get people talking about how they are feeling to ease anxiety and improve wellbeing. Activities included videos and social media campaigns, in addition to the opportunity for people to create their own Personalised Psychosocial Wellbeing Report (PPWR).
When you have kidney cancer, life can be overwhelming, challenging and often lonely. Anxiety, depression, fear of your cancer coming back or simply ‘not feeling right’ are almost universal to all those living with a kidney cancer diagnosis. A 2018 study of patients worldwide showed 96% experienced psychosocial problems of some kind. It also showed that around half suffer in silence, rarely talking about how they’re feeling with either health professionals or family and friends. Whilst this is a big problem, studies would indicate that those who do open up and discuss how they’re feeling often find their anxiety eases simply by talking about it.
Conversations can also surface simple lifestyle changes that can be implemented, delivering a positive impact on emotional wellbeing. And talking about psychosocial issues with a health professional can be a pathway to clinical support that may transform your kidney cancer journey. As well as improving mental health, research shows a sense of wellbeing and a positive attitude can improve treatment outcomes. That’s why World Kidney Cancer Day 2021 set out to raise awareness and address the psychosocial issues experienced by kidney cancer patients and to start conversations about how they can be alleviated through social, lifestyle and clinical interventions. To improve the lives of kidney cancer patients worldwide ‘We need to talk about how we’re feeling’.