Most early detection of kidney cancer happens when someone undergoes an MRI for some other reason and the cancer is accidently detected. If caught in it's early stages it has a very high cure rate of over 90%. If the tumor is less than 7 cm and hasn't spread beyond the kidney. Ron's tumor was more than twice that size...as the surgeon explained to me it was "the size of a football" and unfortunately had already spread to his lung.
Given such grim news it was hard to keep our hopes up. We learned that it is what they called a surgical cancer only. Meaning it doesn't respond to chemotherapy or radiation and has to be surgically removed.
So because of a great Oncologist who has gone to bat for Ron to get each and every surgery he is still alive and right now considered cancer free. He has survived beyond five years and we are starting the 6th. So no matter how grim the news can be I've learned that there is always hope...even in places you never expected to find it. That doesn't mean things always work out the way you want them to but hope is a very powerful medicine in itself.
Other signs and symptoms of renal cell carcinoma include the following:
- Weight loss (33%)
- Fever (20%)
- Hypertension (20%)
- Hypercalcemia manifestations (5%)
- Night sweats
- Varicocele (2% of males) - Usually left sided, due to obstruction of the testicular vein.