In recognition of Kidney Cancer Awareness Month, Adebowale Adeniran, MD, Professor of Pathology; Director of Cytopathology; Director, Cytology Laboratory; Director, Anatomic Pathology Elective Program in Pathology, explains how Yale Pathologists team with Smilow Cancer Hospital oncologists to enhance patient care and provide the best course of treatment.
During Kidney Cancer Awareness Month, what do you feel is the most important message to share with our community?
The incidence of kidney cancer is increasing and early diagnosis is very important. The cure rate is higher when it is discovered at an early stage – when the cancer is small and confined to the kidney. Unfortunately, kidney cancer doesn’t have signs and symptoms in its early stages. You should visit your doctor if you have any of these symptoms: persistent back pain, blood in urine, tiredness, unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite. Risk factors for kidney cancer include older age, smoking, obesity, and hypertension. The risk of kidney cancer is higher if close family members have had the disease and it can also be a component of inherited syndromes.
How do you connect with clinicians treating patients with cancer to bridge laboratory research to clinical care?
We usually meet at a weekly multidisciplinary tumor board where we discuss individual patients. All relevant clinical, radiologic and pathologic findings are reviewed to determine the best course of treatment in each case. I am part of the team that reviews and leads discussion on relevant pathology findings, so I am deeply involved and collaborate very closely with the clinical team in the management of patients with kidney cancer. We also have a hereditary kidney cancer program at Yale. The program consists of a team of experts within Yale New Haven Hospital and Smilow Cancer Hospital. This includes clinicians in their field with a specific interest in treating hereditary cancer syndromes. I am the lead pathologist on the program. I review the outside pathology slides of patients enrolled into the program. I also look at the slides on patients who have their surgeries at YNHH.
How do you collaborate with your colleagues at Smilow Cancer Hospital to care for patients with kidney cancer?
I work closely with the Smilow Cancer Hospital team, providing pre-treatment confirmation of malignancy, intraoperative consultations, cancer staging and information on prognostic biomarkers. Our working relationship has enhanced patient care, resident, and fellow teaching and has led to the development of several collaborative research projects. I serve as the study pathologist on a number of kidney cancer research protocols where I confirm the histology of received slides, verify tumor content, and annotate tumor content for microdissection of the accompanying set of unstained slides prior to further processing for RNA and DNA isolation and processing.
How can we prioritize cancer awareness in our lives?
As individuals, it is important that we are mindful of our bodies and health by having regular check-ups and participate in cancer screening programs. When your body doesn’t feel right, consult your doctor. It is also very important to quit smoking, control high blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight. As a physician and healthcare worker, I know promoting good health is key – so I emphasize the importance of overall health and wellness and continue to educate the public on the importance of cancer screening programs.