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May I ask how your kidney cancer was detected?

245

Comments

  • suzika
    suzika Member Posts: 12
    I'm sorry for your loss.
    My

    I'm sorry for your loss.

    My kidney cancer was another incidental find. I had an infection in my abdomen (cellulitis) and they sent me to another hospital to have a CT scan done, while there they found the tumor in my right kidney. I had no symptoms, at all. My cancer was clear type stage 1b, fuhrman 2.

    I was 33 at my diagnosis and had my open nephrectomy on December 1, 2008.
  • madla
    madla Member Posts: 1
    May I ask how your kidney cancer was detected?
    While having my 6 month recurring scope after my bladder cancer in 2005, my urologist asked if I had any other symptoms like blood in urine, problems with urination, etc. I almost said nothing, but I did have a slight pain in my side which I am to this day sure was just a muscle strain from gardening. He said lets do a CT just to be safe and see what it is. The CT showed nothing wrong where my pain was but showed a solid mass in my left kidney. Ended up being 2.4 cm renal cell carcinoma which has just been treated 3 weeks ago by doing a percutaneous cryoablation. Cured again I guess and now I am a 2 time cancer survivor...lucky to have had 2 of the "good" cancers. Don't really want to go for the hat trick though... :)
  • Minnesota Girl
    Minnesota Girl Member Posts: 119
    Detection
    I had no symptoms whatsoever.

    I'm 43 and have had IBS for years. I had a particularly bad episode and my gastroenterologist decided to order a CT with contrast to check for diverticulitis. No diverticulitis, but the CT revealed a 2.5 cm mass on my left kidney. I was referred to a urologist when felt strongly that I would beat the odds and my tumor would be benign. I went ahead with the biopsy, but unfortunately, it was positive. At least that made the surgery decision a no-brainer.

    I had a radical hand-assisted laproscopic nephrectomy on July 6, including the adrenal gland. Tumor was stage 1a and grade 3. Now I'm waiting to see the oncologist for further follow-up.

    Interestingly, I had a CT without contrast 2 1/2 years before this one. Looking back, the radiologist was able to a shadow of this tumor, so I know it's been there a while. I also had gall bladder surgery and a hysterectomy in the last 2 1/2 years, all the time with that cancer lurking. I can't believe it!

    Personally, I find others are a little freaked out and scared when they hear my story (I guess I was, too.) This cancer is so tricky and you don't expect someone who looks totally healthy to have cancer. We tell everyone who will listen to pay attention to their body and be assertive with their doctors. You just never know...
  • 1530jesup
    1530jesup Member Posts: 3
    detectin kidney cancer
    I was lucky, instead of being macho and ignoring back pains, I went to my doc. not finding any cause she sent me for an MRI with the expectation I would wind up at a chiropractor for the first time in my life. the MRI saw a shadow and I started down the RCC path that led to a radical left nephrectomy 8/27/09. the good news for me was that they caught is soon enough and I have no evidence of disease after the surgery. in that case, the protocol is waiting and doing CT scans - perhaps forever.
    sorry about your loss. be well and good luck, Rich
  • BG
    BG Member Posts: 85 **
    1530jesup said:

    detectin kidney cancer
    I was lucky, instead of being macho and ignoring back pains, I went to my doc. not finding any cause she sent me for an MRI with the expectation I would wind up at a chiropractor for the first time in my life. the MRI saw a shadow and I started down the RCC path that led to a radical left nephrectomy 8/27/09. the good news for me was that they caught is soon enough and I have no evidence of disease after the surgery. in that case, the protocol is waiting and doing CT scans - perhaps forever.
    sorry about your loss. be well and good luck, Rich

    I am taking cholesterol
    I am taking cholesterol medicine, and during a routine doctor visit my liver enzymes were high, so my doctor asked if I wanted to get an ultrasound to check my liver or wait 3 months for another blood test to check enzyme levels.

    I said lets go ahead and do the ultrasound. During the liver scan, they also scanned my right kidney (since liver is on right side) and found a 2.9 cm mass, a day later the CT scan confirmed, 1 month later I had a laproscopic partial with Davinci robot (2 weeks ago). I had no symptoms, but I will be asking if my creatine levels were elevated.

    Confirmed to be RCC, and am waiting on pathology report for more details.

    BG
  • garym
    garym Member Posts: 1,647
    BG said:

    I am taking cholesterol
    I am taking cholesterol medicine, and during a routine doctor visit my liver enzymes were high, so my doctor asked if I wanted to get an ultrasound to check my liver or wait 3 months for another blood test to check enzyme levels.

    I said lets go ahead and do the ultrasound. During the liver scan, they also scanned my right kidney (since liver is on right side) and found a 2.9 cm mass, a day later the CT scan confirmed, 1 month later I had a laproscopic partial with Davinci robot (2 weeks ago). I had no symptoms, but I will be asking if my creatine levels were elevated.

    Confirmed to be RCC, and am waiting on pathology report for more details.

    BG

    My story
    I'm so sorry to hear about your sister, most of us here have survived because our RCC was discovered when they were looking for something else, the story is not as pleasant once symptoms present. I lost my father in-law and six friends to this disease prior to my diagnosis in the ER following a motorcycle accident. A 5.1 cm mass, left kidney, lap. rad. on 11/20/09, I was 58 with no other symptoms. For me, the physical recovery was easier (not easy) than the mental side. Having known so many that died from the same illness survivor's guilt, once they told me I was "cured", was really a **** (sorry about the language but that is tame compared to what I wanted to say). I'm at peace with it now because I know there was nothing I could have done to change the outcome, some things are just meant to be, but they will not be forgotten. I hope this board and the stories of so many others helps you as much as it has helped me.

    Hang in there,

    Gary
  • LISAinTN
    LISAinTN Member Posts: 143
    I had my first ever attack
    I had my first ever attack of Diverticulitis on June 21st and wound up in the ER. (Diverticulitis runs heavy in my family.) While doing a CT Scan to confirm the Divert, they saw a mass on my left kidney. As with so many other's, mine was detected while looking for something else. The physician said it was "divine intervention" that I had the Divert attack. I had an open partial nephrectomy of the left kidney on August 22nd. I'm still reeling from this whole thing. It all went so fast and I still can't believe someone said those 3 words to me..."You have cancer".

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what you're going through and just know my thoughts and prayers are with you. Take care.

    Lisa
  • nicmarie75
    nicmarie75 Member Posts: 55
    LISAinTN said:

    I had my first ever attack
    I had my first ever attack of Diverticulitis on June 21st and wound up in the ER. (Diverticulitis runs heavy in my family.) While doing a CT Scan to confirm the Divert, they saw a mass on my left kidney. As with so many other's, mine was detected while looking for something else. The physician said it was "divine intervention" that I had the Divert attack. I had an open partial nephrectomy of the left kidney on August 22nd. I'm still reeling from this whole thing. It all went so fast and I still can't believe someone said those 3 words to me..."You have cancer".

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what you're going through and just know my thoughts and prayers are with you. Take care.

    Lisa

    Not me but my mother
    My mom went to the ER for chest pain 8/1/98 (she was 41 and on birth control pills and a heavy smoker, slightly over weight) and they found a blood clot and an xray saw something on the lung, (details fuzzy) so they ended up putting her on Coumadin? and a month later abt 9/3/98 she came back to ER with clot in her neck, pain swelling left neck region with difficulty swallowing (even though on Coumadin already) so they figured metasis and did CT scan. Found mass on left Kidney 8x7x10 and nodule on right lung base, also found shadows on Liver at some point in all this. Did left nephrectomy (sp) and started Chemo, at DX was told 4 mo to live. Mom was in denial (her father had just died in 95' of Parotid Gland Cancer, it was not easy, it was horrible) so I gather she was so very scared. She still went to work as close to full time as she could with Chemo treatments an hour away 3 times a week. She had instances of "spaciness" and work had her go out on disability. Dec 29 98 she went back to ER (cant remember why) and they found spots on her brain. They admitted her and records talk of a plan of her getting out and starting Radiation. She never left the hospital....she had deep vein thrombosis of the left arm and got Pheunomia. Her 42nd bday was 1.7.99 and we all came to hospital to celebrate her bday. She was having a lot of trouble breathing. Had breathing treatments and they were not working after a while. Though she was kind of declining didn't think she was going to die...thought she would be released. They even talked of releasing her in the days before her death. Night of her bday she asked that one of us sleep there with there, I did, my sister went home. I stayed up to very early morning talking to my mom, at one point she asked for the priest, I told nurses, they dismissed her said she was panicking she would be fine. I went to sleep sometime after 5am and woke at 9 am ish to a nurse coming into the room to give my mom meds and my mom was gone....she had passed sometime from when I went to sleep....It kills me to this day that I was not awake with her when she left us. Still don't understand why she died when she did....with my grandfathe and ex MIL they got to the point where you could see they were going to die....my mom never looked like that :-(
  • Liora4queen
    Liora4queen Member Posts: 22
    Dottie
    I'm so sorry that you lost your sister. I lost my mom to ovarian cancer 9 years ago and even though I am now dealing with kidney cancer, in some ways it is harder to watch someone you love go through it than to deal with it yourself.
    I found mine accidentaly. I had some bloodwork and a urine test done by the life insurance company. I was buying life insurance because I had lost a mother to ovarian cancer and mom's sister to breast cancer (both young) and was worried that it might happen to me. The urinalysis picked up an abnormal microalbumin/creatinine ratio. I spent a while googling to find out what that could mean and found out about a study that showed that certain proteins in the urine can be a sign of ovarian cancer.
    I freaked out because I had some ovarian cysts that my OBGYN had been watching at that time, and I went to my internist. She told me that she was sure it was nothing, but I pushed her to repeat the tests - they were the same and I was feeling really scared, so she referred me to a nephrologist.
    He told me that it was nothing, but said he'd do an ultrasound to make sure that I had two kidneys. Turns out that I have 2 kidneys and 1 "mass"! He told me that he was sure it was just an angiomyolipoma, because Im so young and have no symptoms or risk factors. He followed up with a CT scan with and without contrast(2 months later!) and my lump lit up like a beacon.
    I'm scheduled for surgery (lap. partial) on december 7th. So I started out looking for ovarian cancer and ended up finding kidney cancer.
    Watching my mother going through ovarian cancer taught me a lot about being responsible for my own health and advocating for myself. I also believe that she is looking out for me from up there and will help me through this.
  • flatlander
    flatlander Member Posts: 46

    Dottie
    I'm so sorry that you lost your sister. I lost my mom to ovarian cancer 9 years ago and even though I am now dealing with kidney cancer, in some ways it is harder to watch someone you love go through it than to deal with it yourself.
    I found mine accidentaly. I had some bloodwork and a urine test done by the life insurance company. I was buying life insurance because I had lost a mother to ovarian cancer and mom's sister to breast cancer (both young) and was worried that it might happen to me. The urinalysis picked up an abnormal microalbumin/creatinine ratio. I spent a while googling to find out what that could mean and found out about a study that showed that certain proteins in the urine can be a sign of ovarian cancer.
    I freaked out because I had some ovarian cysts that my OBGYN had been watching at that time, and I went to my internist. She told me that she was sure it was nothing, but I pushed her to repeat the tests - they were the same and I was feeling really scared, so she referred me to a nephrologist.
    He told me that it was nothing, but said he'd do an ultrasound to make sure that I had two kidneys. Turns out that I have 2 kidneys and 1 "mass"! He told me that he was sure it was just an angiomyolipoma, because Im so young and have no symptoms or risk factors. He followed up with a CT scan with and without contrast(2 months later!) and my lump lit up like a beacon.
    I'm scheduled for surgery (lap. partial) on december 7th. So I started out looking for ovarian cancer and ended up finding kidney cancer.
    Watching my mother going through ovarian cancer taught me a lot about being responsible for my own health and advocating for myself. I also believe that she is looking out for me from up there and will help me through this.

    sorry for your loss, I was saved by dumb luck and back pain
    My NP ordered a ultrasound of my belly as I had a lump on my chest. Yip after the student then the senior Tech scanned my belly for over an hour I asked if anyone was gonna scan the mass on my chest. They said oh your doctor.ordered.belly.only, let me call her. Unable to get her on phone they checkd it and it was a harmless mass of fat called a lipoma. BUT they said, 'do you get.kidney.stones?'. And I said 'no but that may explain why.my backs has been hurting me'. Then radioligists report said 2 cysts found. I am allergic to cat.scan dye so off to MRI and they said it was a tumor not 2 cysts. Now I wait for surgery and hope they get it all.
  • foxhd
    foxhd Member Posts: 3,181

    sorry for your loss, I was saved by dumb luck and back pain
    My NP ordered a ultrasound of my belly as I had a lump on my chest. Yip after the student then the senior Tech scanned my belly for over an hour I asked if anyone was gonna scan the mass on my chest. They said oh your doctor.ordered.belly.only, let me call her. Unable to get her on phone they checkd it and it was a harmless mass of fat called a lipoma. BUT they said, 'do you get.kidney.stones?'. And I said 'no but that may explain why.my backs has been hurting me'. Then radioligists report said 2 cysts found. I am allergic to cat.scan dye so off to MRI and they said it was a tumor not 2 cysts. Now I wait for surgery and hope they get it all.

    dottie.
    Short story for me. One evening I developed alot of pain and hematuria. Had no previous symptoms. Had to be admitted for pain control. Pain was from a renal vein thrombus. Kidney removed a couple days later.
  • etrainor
    etrainor Member Posts: 8
    How my kidney cancer was detected
    Hello Dottie,
    I'm so sorry for the loss of your sister. Did she have any symptoms prior to being diagnosed?
    Two weeks ago, I had a left laprascopic nephrectomy. I had pain in my left side and back area, anemia, later blood in my urine, and high blood sedidiment lab results for 3 months prior to being diagnosed. After having a CT scan of the pelvic and abdomen area, I was diagnosed. I'm fortunate to have had symptoms early enough to have the cancer contained to the kidney. So often the symptoms are sutble.

    I hope this helps you.
    Sincerely,
    Colleen
  • Bigjo
    Bigjo Member Posts: 1
    etrainor said:

    How my kidney cancer was detected
    Hello Dottie,
    I'm so sorry for the loss of your sister. Did she have any symptoms prior to being diagnosed?
    Two weeks ago, I had a left laprascopic nephrectomy. I had pain in my left side and back area, anemia, later blood in my urine, and high blood sedidiment lab results for 3 months prior to being diagnosed. After having a CT scan of the pelvic and abdomen area, I was diagnosed. I'm fortunate to have had symptoms early enough to have the cancer contained to the kidney. So often the symptoms are sutble.

    I hope this helps you.
    Sincerely,
    Colleen

    Bladder cancer
    Hi i live in the UK, my story is very similar but im glad i came cross this group today because i got some answers reading your stories, I was having teouble with my prostrate, went to my GP he did the psa test, and sent me to see a specialist who said i had to come into hospital and hve a camera down my front passage, being a man it was painful, he didnt even look at my prostrate went straight to my bladder. And saw a growth going into my kidney tube, he s. You have a Tumour, i said ok how bAd is it he said well its cancer just like that, i said so what are you going to do, he said you will come back in a few weeks and ill take it out give you a high dose of chemo, BUT it will keep. Coming back, so i had it removed, then a dose of chemo and home i went, butvith in 2 weeks i had a lot of pain in my abdamon, so i phoned my gp got an appointment andcwentbto see him he took a urine test sent it off, A week later ivrang the gp for thecresult he said it wasnt an infection and left it at that, i was in a lot of pain so rang my consultants secretary and she got me an appointment in 4 weeks, so im going this monday, but i have more problems now i seem to be getting hairy fingers and arms even on the inside of my arms, And still they havent looked at my prostrate which has a lump on it its enlarged, im in a lot of pain cannot go to,pee unless i take a water tablet, my creatanin is changing monthly, i know i have more than they realise now i have to have scans done he said but the doctors consultants and hospital are over looking something and taking to long to diagnose me while the cancer i believe is spreading, after reading all your posts i can see it now so next monday my consultant is going to get it from me ive had enough of the pain, and enough of them ignoring my problems now i shouldnt have to be looking it up on google my symptoms its their job, but a big thankyou for opening my eyes today enough is enough now
  • j_rod
    j_rod Member Posts: 125
    Incidentally
    I had severe abdominal pains. The doctor ordered a ct scan. It was diverticulitis. The ct scan picked up a mass on the kidney. Luckily it is only 2.5 cm so they consider it low grade and low stage since it hasn't gone to any other tissues/organs. I have to wait until april 3 for my operation. Hoping they don't find any more when they get in 'there'. I guess i am 'lucky' i have diverticulitis. Otherwise, it may have been longer before they found it. ...And then, who knows? I don't want to think about it being worse than it is now. I feel that I just got 'lucky'. I am sorry for your loss.
  • Michael6701
    Michael6701 Member Posts: 26
    How Diagnosed
    I had several ultrasounds and CT scans for various issues over several years and a cyst or mass was always reported on my right kidney. Further evaluations always concluded that it was a simple cyst incapable of becoming a cancer. Then I had some abdominal pains due to adenitis for which they ran a scan in the ER. The radiologist again reported it to be a simple cyst, but this time follow-up was recommended. I saw my Internist and he sloughed it off as a cyst and said we'll look at it again every year or so. At my insistence he sent me to a urologist who, though he never actually looked at the films, also said it was a simple cyst. Having lost 3 siblings to RCC I took it another step. I ordered the CD of the scan and went to another urologist. He looked at the films, repeated the scan and concluded it to be cancer; the UCSF specialist concurred. I had it removed via an open partial nephrectomy and the found a stage 1, 5cm papillary Type 2, grade 3 cancer. Fortunately I was persistent enough to finally get a proper diagnosis and get it removed, apparently in time.
  • Michael6701
    Michael6701 Member Posts: 26
    How Diagnosed
    I had several ultrasounds and CT scans for various issues over several years and a cyst or mass was always reported on my right kidney. Further evaluations always concluded that it was a simple cyst incapable of becoming a cancer. Then I had some abdominal pains due to adenitis for which they ran a scan in the ER. The radiologist again reported it to be a simple cyst, but this time follow-up was recommended. I saw my Internist and he sloughed it off as a cyst and said we'll look at it again every year or so. At my insistence he sent me to a urologist who, though he never actually looked at the films, also said it was a simple cyst. Having lost 3 siblings to RCC I took it another step. I ordered the CD of the scan and went to another urologist. He looked at the films, repeated the scan and concluded it to be cancer; the UCSF specialist concurred. I had it removed via an open partial nephrectomy and the found a stage 1, 5cm papillary Type 2, grade 3 cancer. Fortunately I was persistent enough to finally get a proper diagnosis and get it removed, apparently in time.
  • Michael6701
    Michael6701 Member Posts: 26
    How Diagnosed
    I had several ultrasounds and CT scans for various issues over several years and a cyst or mass was always reported on my right kidney. Further evaluations always concluded that it was a simple cyst incapable of becoming a cancer. Then I had some abdominal pains due to adenitis for which they ran a scan in the ER. The radiologist again reported it to be a simple cyst, but this time follow-up was recommended. I saw my Internist and he sloughed it off as a cyst and said we'll look at it again every year or so. At my insistence he sent me to a urologist who, though he never actually looked at the films, also said it was a simple cyst. Having lost 3 siblings to RCC I took it another step. I ordered the CD of the scan and went to another urologist. He looked at the films, repeated the scan and concluded it to be cancer; the UCSF specialist concurred. I had it removed via an open partial nephrectomy and the found a stage 1, 5cm papillary Type 2, grade 3 cancer. Fortunately I was persistent enough to finally get a proper diagnosis and get it removed, apparently in time.
  • Texas_wedge
    Texas_wedge Member Posts: 2,798

    How Diagnosed
    I had several ultrasounds and CT scans for various issues over several years and a cyst or mass was always reported on my right kidney. Further evaluations always concluded that it was a simple cyst incapable of becoming a cancer. Then I had some abdominal pains due to adenitis for which they ran a scan in the ER. The radiologist again reported it to be a simple cyst, but this time follow-up was recommended. I saw my Internist and he sloughed it off as a cyst and said we'll look at it again every year or so. At my insistence he sent me to a urologist who, though he never actually looked at the films, also said it was a simple cyst. Having lost 3 siblings to RCC I took it another step. I ordered the CD of the scan and went to another urologist. He looked at the films, repeated the scan and concluded it to be cancer; the UCSF specialist concurred. I had it removed via an open partial nephrectomy and the found a stage 1, 5cm papillary Type 2, grade 3 cancer. Fortunately I was persistent enough to finally get a proper diagnosis and get it removed, apparently in time.

    Being one's own advocate
    What a salutary story Michael - thanks for sharing it with us all. It may help a lot of others who are too unsure of themselves, too intimidated by the 'gods in white coats' and too shy of challenging their judgments. It's particularly important with RCC, more than other cancers, certainly, to stick to one's guns as you did simply because it is such a sneaky disease. Even the supposed experts can get it very wrong, as you found out, fortunately, in time.
  • Roggy
    Roggy Member Posts: 10
    by accident
    One night while taking a shower I felt a large lump on my neck. The next morning I went to my local doctor who imeediately sent me to a cancer doctor. When he looked at it and said that he was pretty sure oit was cancer he ordered some test done. When the ultra sound came back he said that he wanted another doctor to talk with he. That was the kidney cancer doctor. He told me that I had RCC cancer in addition to non hodgkins lymphoma cancer. Left kidney was removed and I am doing ok right now. Sorry about your sister....Life is not fair. I lost my only child......
  • DogRescuer
    DogRescuer Member Posts: 52
    Another accidental find
    I was having leg pain and due to my breast cancer 3 yrs ago, my oncologist ordered an MRI of my spine. Showed no bone mets thank goodness, but caught a glimpse of an 8.5 mass on my left kidney. Never had any symptoms.

    With all these accidental discoveries it's led me to the ridiculous belief that most of the people out there are walking around with kidney tumors, but they just don't know it. Guess I'm still dilerious from my surgery 2 wks ago.