Kidney cancer isn’t what you’d call rare—in fact, according to statistics from the American Cancer Society, it’s on pace to be the eighth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States this year. But it’s not a familiar disease. While most people could probably rattle off a couple of facts about breast, lung, or prostate cancer (ranked first, second, and third for number of people diagnosed), or about endometrial cancer or leukemia (ninth and tenth), chances are they’d draw a blank if asked about renal-cell cancer or any other variety of kidney cancer. That lack of information can add to the fear experienced by the nearly 74,000 Americans who will receive a kidney-cancer diagnosis this year. And that’s unfortunate—because when it comes to kidney cancer, a little knowledge can actually be a reassuring thing.
If you’ve recently received a diagnosis of kidney cancer, here are some key points that can make you feel more in control and help you get the treatment you need.