Throughout your treatment with, it will be important to have open, honest conversations with your health care team so that everyone is on the same page. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your appointments:
- Take someone with you to appointments. They can take notes so it's easy to remember what your health care provider said
- While you're in your health care provider's office, repeat what he said in your own words. Then summarize the facts you've talked about. This can help ensure you understand what he is saying. And if you need more details, ask questions
- Between appointments, jot down any questions you have in a notebook so you don't forget them
As you continue to work with your health care team to treat advanced renal cell cancer (advanced kidney cancer), it’s important to remember your personal goals. At times, you may not know where to start the conversation, but be open and honest and concentrate on what’s important to you. When discussing your treatment, keep the following in mind:
- What matters most to you? Talk with your health care team about what is most important to you in your daily life. This can help them work with you to prioritize your goals and come up with ways to work toward them
- What are your goals? Share your personal and treatment goals with your team so they know what you’d like to accomplish. And be sure to mention any changes in your goals as you move forward. Together you can figure out the best way to work toward your goals
- Who is a part of your support system? Let your team know about your support system and what you need as you set and work toward your goals together. Your health care team is a big part of your support system and can also help you find anything else you may need
And remember, it’s okay if any of these change or shift over time. Just be sure to share any updates with your health care team so you can move forward together to meet any new goals. The following information can help you know what’s important to share with your health care team.
Do you take any other medicines?
Write a list, and share it with your health care team.
What’s your medical history?
Talk to your health care provider if you have or have had any of the following:
- Liver problems. You may need a lower dose of VOTRIENT, or your health care provider may prescribe a different medicine to treat your advanced kidney cancer
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems or an irregular heartbeat, including QT prolongation
- A history of stroke
- Headaches, seizures, or vision problems
- Coughed up blood in the last 6 months
- Bleeding of your stomach or intestines in the last 6 months
- A history of a tear (perforation) in your stomach or intestine, or an abnormal connection between 2 parts of your gastrointestinal tract (fistula)
- Blood clots in a vein or a lung
- Thyroid problems
- Recent surgery (within the last 7 days) or are going to have surgery
Do you eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice?
Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice during treatment with VOTRIENT because it may affect how VOTRIENT works.
What medicines are you taking?
VOTRIENT may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how VOTRIENT works. Tell your health care provider about all the medicines you take, including
- Prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements
- Any medicines that contain simvastatin to treat high cholesterol levels
- Any medicines that reduce stomach acid (eg, esomeprazole)
Especially tell your health care provider if you take medicines that can affect how your liver enzymes work, such as
- Certain antibiotics (used to treat infections)
- Certain medicines used to treat HIV
- Certain medicines used to treat depression
- Medicines used to treat irregular heartbeats
Considering having a baby?
Tell your health care provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, because VOTRIENT can harm your unborn baby. You should not become pregnant while you are taking VOTRIENT. It is not known if VOTRIENT passes into your breast milk. You and your health care provider should decide if you will take VOTRIENT or breastfeed. You should not do both.
Tell your health care provider if you are having sex with a partner who is pregnant, thinks they may be pregnant, or who could become pregnant. Even if you had a vasectomy or are taking other forms of birth control, tell your health care provider. You should use condoms during sexual intercourse during treatment with VOTRIENT and for 2 weeks after your last dose.
Ask your health care provider if you are not sure if your medicine is one of these. Also let your health care provider know about any other medical conditions you may have.
Starting the conversation
Use the Conversation Guide to help prepare for appointments (downloadable PDF).