Kidney cancer stage 4

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Hi  my brother has been diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer. He starts immunotherapy on Thursday. I'm filled with apprehension for him. I went with him for his diagnosis and we were told its incurable. However my brother hasn't taken this in and talks about being cured. He was the same when our dad was dying, totally not believing all the doctors. Although I understand he wants to be positive, he won't allow any discussion around side effects of the immunotherapy or what is down the line for him.  Can anyone reassure me that there is hope in this therapy. Everything I read is so alarming. He lives alone and myself and my sister live far away so I'm obviously concerned if he becomes unwell after the therapy.

  • Hi -  there is definitely hope.  I am stage 4 and treatable.  

    When you read the side effects of immunotherapy drugs it does sound alarming.  The sickness, the diarrhoea, fatigue, itching. . . . and everything else they mention which I've forgotten because it's 18 months since I read the info.  You wouldn't be normal if you weren't alarmed.  However, the drug company has to tell you all the possible side effects, even the ones that only a minority had.  What they don't tell you is that no one gets them all.

    What immunotherapy is he going on?  Some are harsher than others.  Ipilimumab & nivolumab is a common first line therapy which is what I'm on.  Everyone is different and there is no guarantee that one person's experience of a drug will be the same as the next persons.  

    Everyone reacts differently to a cancer diagnosis/ treatment and there's no right or wrong way to approach it.  I don't discuss my treatment with anyone and even if I wanted to it wouldn't be my family.  They don't have cancer so they're not qualified to comment!  I really relax most talking to other people with cancer because they understand the situation.  

    This group on the forum might be appropriate for you:  Supporting someone with incurable cancer forum   Wishing your brother all the best for Thursday. 

  • Thanks for your reply. I'm not sure what drugs they will be using. I'll take a look at the link for supporting someone with cancer. I think I'm so scared for him and want to protect him.