Kidney Cancer Patients Turn Experience into Advocacy

Lynne and Pat Sevean were both diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2014. After successful treatment, they are kidney cancer advocates who aim to bring more information and hope to kidney cancer patients in Northwestern Ontario by hosting a local event with a leading kidney cancer researcher and uro-oncologist, Dr. Anil Kapoor, on Thursday, November 19th at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

For Pat and Lynne Sevean, kidney cancer was not a health concern. That changed when both of them were diagnosed with it in 2014. Neither of them knew much about kidney cancer, but they quickly became experts, and eventually, motivated advocates.

Kidney cancer is one of the lesser known cancers, so it was a surprise to the Seveans when a routine ultrasound in July of 2014 showed a tumour on Pat’s kidney. It was an even bigger shock when, in August, Lynne’s annual urine test found minute traces of blood in his urine. A follow-up ultrasound revealed that he too had a tumour on his kidney.

“We had no signs or symptoms of our cancers. Our daughter was getting married in October, and we were focusing on that. Then this happened and we had to figure out our treatment plans,” explained Pat as she recalled how quickly life can change. “Luckily, we were able to have our nephrectomies (surgery to remove the entire kidney) here in Thunder Bay and we didn’t require any further treatment after that. But, kidney cancer has become part of our lives now.”

The initial diagnosis changed the Sevean’s lives in terms of long-term kidney care, annual exams, and ensuring their daughters’ kidney health is monitored. One of the biggest changes has been their dedication to kidney cancer advocacy, particularly for Pat. “When we were going through this, I was looking for more information and other people who could relate. I found Kidney Cancer Canada and got involved with them. Eventually, they asked me to sit on their board to help represent kidney cancer patients,” says Pat.

When it comes to leveraging Pat’s experiences at a national level, Lynne says that Pat suits the role well in many ways “She plays a triple role: she is a nurse educator, a patient who has experienced kidney cancer, and a care giver.”

One of Pat’s goals with KCC was to bring more information and hope back to kidney cancer patients and practitioners in Northwestern Ontario. Along with fellow Kidney Cancer Canada Board Member Deb Sidor, Pat is proud to announce that Dr. Anil Kapoor will be presenting on emerging treatments and therapies for kidney cancer. Dr. Kapoor is a leading researcher and uro-oncologist from the McMaster Institute of Urology at St. Joseph’s Healthcare and Chair of KCC’s Medical Advisory Board. Pat is excited for the event, because she knows it will help many people. “Dr. Kapoor will be speaking about very exciting treatments for kidney cancer. The information he will be sharing will increase awareness about this disease, and more importantly, it will bring some hope to people who have kidney cancer.”

‘Kidney Cancer: Treatment and Emerging Therapies’ will be hosted in partnership by Kidney Cancer Canada and Regional Cancer Care Northwest at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) on Thursday, November 19th from 7:00 to 9:30 pm ( at 7:00 and the main event starts at 7:30 pm) in Auditorium A (3rd floor) at TBRHSC. The event will also feature a panel with Dr. Kapoor and some local oncologists. Admission is free and the event is also being offered online through the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN). For more information about the event or how to access OTN, visit:

If you are looking for more information about kidney cancer or kidney cancer patient supports, visit: There are a variety of supports available, including information about their 7th Annual Patient Education Conference which will be held in Toronto on March 5th, 2016.