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More than 70 kidney cancer patients and their families participated in the Kidney Cancer Association’s patient and survivor conference held at the Friday Continuing Education Center in Chapel Hill on February 23.

They heard from kidney cancer experts from UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Duke Cancer Institute and the Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte.

Mike Lawing, a kidney cancer patient from Forest City, helped to organize the meeting. He explained, “A lot of cancer patients not involved in a support group often don’t know any other patients. This meeting gives them the opportunity to network, learn from each other and build relationships. The knowledge they gain from the speakers is a great help to them.

“This meeting has been a great collaboration of three of the leading kidney cancer treatment centers in the Southeast. And is the first in the region in a number of years.”

Dr. Kimryn Rathmell, Alexander Professor for Translational Research, who helped to organize the meeting, said, “This meeting was a tremendous opportunity for survivors, caregivers, and clinical team members to share their perspectives on this experience. I was thrilled with the level of enthusiasm and participation that we saw from all of the participants in the meeting.

“The meeting has certainly spurred an interest in increasing awareness about kidney cancer to interested individuals in our area, and with the help of the KCA and the cooperation across our centers we hope to convert this enthusiasm into some advocacy for this cancer type.”

Dr. Rathmell is a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

For more information on the Kidney Cancer Association, visit their website.