~Foundation Educates Patients Around the World on link between Kidney Disease and Kidney Cancer~
(October 25, 2023, New York, NY) – The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) launched an educational animated patient-friendly video series on kidney cancer initially in two languages -English and Spanish- that have now been translated into an additional eight languages: Korean, French, Swedish, Italian, Polish, Hausa (Nigerian), Japanese, and Mandarin. Each video is about one and a half to two and a half minutes long and was created to convey complex health information to patients in numerous countries. These videos will help patients with varying levels of health literacy understand how kidney cancer is diagnosed and how surgeries and treatment options can affect kidney function.
In 2022, NKF shared the English video during a presentation to the International Kidney Cancer Coalition (IKCC) and was approached by numerous members of the Coalition to have the videos translated.
“We were amazed by how detailed and informative these short videos were,” said Dr. Rachel Giles, Chief Executive Officer for the IKCC. “Kidney cancer is a burden and public health crisis in numerous countries. We’ve never seen such informative animated videos that make a very complicated disease more understandable for the general public. We hope these videos inform the public and save many lives.”
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 function from the time of diagnosis and beyond.i New cases of kidney cancer for 2021 in the United States are estimated to be 76,080 (48,780 men and 27,300 women)ii 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,iii while kidney cancer overall is the 8th most common cancer in the United States.iv About 9 out of 10 kidney cancers are renal cell carcinomas. Although RCC might usually grow as a single tumor within a kidney, sometimes there are two or more tumors in one kidney or even tumors in both kidneys at the same time. Some kidney tumors are benign but can still cause problems. There have been significant advances in treating kidney cancer over the past ten years, but patient outcomes continue to be subpar, which indicates a need for more information about treatment options, including the stage of kidney cancer and risks of kidney disease. Kidney disease is also connected with a higher risk for RCC.v
“This informative animated video series is part of our ongoing equity work,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant recipient. “Language shouldn’t be a barrier to kidney health. Translating this user-friendly, educational content into additional languages will allow this life-saving educational effort to reach more people than ever before.”
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 diagnosis; Kidney cancer surgical treatments and procedures: thermal ablation, partial nephrectomy, and radical nephrectomy and surgical approaches: open, laparoscopic, and robotic-assisted. Immunotherapy and kidney cancer: what it is and when it is used; Targeted therapy and kidney cancer: what it is and when it is used; and Precision medicine and kidney cancer: what it is and when it is used.
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, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, swelling in the ankles or legs, bone pain and/or pain in your lower back.
It is not known why kidney cells change and become cancerous. Still, 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, 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. [i]Watch out for early signs like fatigue, high blood pressure, unexplained fever, and malaise. While persistent nagging pain or heaviness on the side or back is a telltale sign, also make sure you don’t feel a lump or mass around that area. 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.
Translations for this six-part educational animated video series were supported by Merck, Pfizer, Exelixis, Intuitive Surgical, Telix, Aveo Oncology an LG Chem Company, Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) and Eisai.
For more information on NKF’s new kidney cancer videos, visit our patient information center at
About Kidney Disease
In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it. About 1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history. People of Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, Native American, or other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. Blacks or African Americans are almost four times more likely than White Americans to have kidney failure. Hispanics experience kidney failure at about double the rate of White people.
Kidney Cancer Facts
Kidney cancer is a disease that starts in the kidneys. It happens when healthy cells in one or both kidneys grow out of control and form a lump (called a tumor). The reason why kidney cells change and become cancerous is not yet known, but having advanced kidney disease or a kidney transplant can increase your risk for kidney cancer. Additional risk factors linked to kidney cancer include - smoking, being overweight, high blood pressure, family history, and being on dialysis. Studies show there is a link between kidney cancer and kidney disease, so talk to your doctor to see if you should screen for kidney cancer.
About 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.
i 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.
iii 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
v 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.
vi American Cancer Society website on kidney cancer