NKF Launches Educational Animated Video Series on Kidney Cancer

Foundation Educates Public on Link between Kidney Disease and Kidney Cancer

July 7, 2021, New York, NY ­­– National Kidney Foundation (NKF) launches an educational animated video series on kidney cancer to convey complex health information while targeting patients with varying levels of health literacy.  Six patient friendly videos, each ranging from about one and a half to two and a half minutes, are available in both English and Spanish to help patients from diverse backgrounds understand how kidney cancer is diagnosed and how surgeries and treatment options can affect kidney function. A report from the 2014 NKF Journal found that at least one third of the 300,000 kidney cancer survivors at that time in the United States had or would develop kidney disease, so it's very important to monitor kidney funcation from the time of diagnosis and beyond.[1] New cases of kidney cancer for 2021 in the United States are estimated to be 76,080 (48,780 men and 27,300 women)[2] and it remains a significant health challenge associated with poor outcomes.  

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of kidney cancer and has the highest mortality rate of all genitourinary cancers,[3] while kidney cancer overall is the 8th most common cancer in the United States.[4] Although there have been significant advances in treating kidney cancer over the past ten years, patient outcomes continue to be subpar, indicating a need for more information about their treatment options, including their stage of kidney cancer and risk of kidney disease. Kidney disease is also connected with a higher risk for RCC.[5]

“Kidney disease is already a public health crisis affecting more than 37 million adults in the U.S. yet 90% don’t even know they have it or understand the importance of preserving kidney function while being treated for kidney cancer,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant recipient. “It is our hope that sharing complex medical information through animated educational videos will help improve patient outcomes as well as their understanding of kidney cancer and the treatment options available to them.”

Topics for each animated video include the following: Introduction to kidney cancer: what it is, who develops it, and possible causes/risk factors; Stages of kidney cancer and key points about obtaining an accurate diagnosisSurgical treatments and procedures: ablation, partial nephrectomy, and radical nephrectomy; Surgical approaches: open, laparoscopic, and robotic; Immunotherapy: what it is and when it is used; Targeted therapy: what it is and when it is used; and Precision medicine: what it is and when it is used.  (add hyperlinks to the English ones for each that you mention)

Most kidney cancers are found by chance during treatment for another condition such as kidney stones.  That’s why it’s important to meet regularly with your healthcare professional to check your kidney function and to report any signs or symptoms, such as blood in your urine or pain in your lower back.  It is not known why kidney cells change and become cancerous, but some risk factors for kidney cancer include smoking, being overweight, being on dialysis treatment for a long time, having family members with kidney cancer, long-term use of a pain-relieving drug called phenacetin, and history of long-term exposure to asbestos or cadmium and certain rare genetic diseases such as von Hippel-Lindau disease, Birt Hogge Dube syndrome and others. You may be able to lower your risk of developing kidney cancer by avoiding the risk factors that can be controlled such as increased body weight, high blood pressure, and smoking. Please note that having a risk factor or even several risk factors does not mean you will develop kidney cancer, but it may increase your risk. 

For more information on NKF’s new kidney cancer videos, visit our patient information center at NKF Cares and to learn more about kidney disease, visit kidney.org.

Kidney Disease Facts

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it.  1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, and family history. People of Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. Blacks or African Americans are almost 4 times more likely than White Americans to have kidney failure.  Hispanics are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.

Approximately 785,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. More than 555,000 of these patients receive dialysis to replace kidney function and 230,000 live with a transplant. Nearly 100,000 Americans are on the waitlist for a kidney transplant right now.  Depending on where a patient lives, the average wait time for a kidney transplant can be upwards of three to seven years.

About the National Kidney Foundation 

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org.


  1. Chang A, Finelli A, Berns J., Rosner M. Chronic kidney disease in patients with renal cell carcinoma. Adv Chronic     Kidney Dis. 2014;21:91-95.
  2. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/kidney-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
  3. Hu S, Chang A, Perazella M, et al. The Nephrologist’s Tumor: Basic Biology and Management of Renal Cell Carcinoma. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2016;27:2227-2237
  4. https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/kidrp.html
  5. Lowrance W. Ordonez J, Udaltsov n, Russo P, Go A. CKD and the risk of incident cancer. J AM Soc Nephrol. 2014; 25:2327-2334.