Make sure you get help to feel as well as possible. If you haven’t already been given the name of a specialist nurse, ask your doctor about referral to a Macmillan nurse or a specialist cancer nurse. Macmillan nurses specialise in helping cancer patients. They are experts at controlling symptoms and often liaise between patients, relatives, GPs and the hospital to improve quality of life for the whole family. Some are qualified counsellors. Marie Curie nurses, community nurses and healthcare assistants also provide support at home.
You may have had a kidney surgically removed and the body can manage perfectly well with one kidney. But it makes sense to look after the one you have left. So cut down on the amount of salt in your diet. Eat healthily. At all stages during your kidney cancer journey, a healthy, well-balanced diet will help you maintain strength and prevent infection. Good nutrition and maintaining calories is especially important when you are undergoing intense treatments, such as surgery, radiotherapy and drug treatments. Foods rich in vitamins A and C, and high fibre foods to combat constipation are beneficial. Aim for more fresh fruit and vegetables and less protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. If you are a smoker, try to stop. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum and drink plenty of water. And don’t take large doses of vitamin C supplements.
Fatigue (tiredness) is one of the most distressing side-effects of cancer. Fatigue may be caused by many factors, including depression, insomnia, anaemia, the effects of cancer treatment, and the cancer itself.
To help with fatigue, you need to pace your activities and organise your home and work environments in a way to help accommodate lower energy levels. You need to limit your physical activity before, during and after your treatment. Regular, gentle exercise and a healthy diet will help to reduce fatigue, as will relaxing activities, such as reading, listening to music, watching TV, and a nap during the day.