Our healthcare system is a reactive one. We wait to have symptoms or get sick and then we begin to take the steps to figure out what is going on and get better. Unfortunately for some, they start too late.
Ezra wants everyone to become proactive about their health. We are leveraging our technology and imaging tools to find cancer as early as possible and in people without any symptoms. It is an established fact that early diagnosis of cancer gives you the best chance at beating it. It is the difference between being reactive versus proactive. And simply put, Ezra is proactive and empowers people to help ensure a better outcome. As the Medical Director at Ezra I have the privilege of seeing this firsthand.
When I first talked to Sam Hires he exuded confidence and energy. His extraordinary nature shined through as he told me about being a lifelong athlete having completed over 200 marathons and 10 Iron Man competitions. He has even added off road cycling to his routine. Sam at 72 years old was told by his physician that Sam is in the best health of all his patients. Sam and his wife Sue have been proactively evolving their lifestyle to optimize their physical and mental well beings. And with new technology available, like an Ezra scan, it is easier than ever to be proactive about medical well being.
Sam proactively looked and researched for a full body MRI scan and chose the Ezra scan as he believed it was the best scan with the most advanced technology available. He booked his full body Ezra MRI scan and it saved his life.
Sam used our Los Angeles location for his Ezra scan. The scan revealed numerous solid masses in both his kidneys with large masses. The mass on his left side was 7.5cm and the one on his right kidney was 3.9cm. Our medical team alerted Sam that we had found cancer and that he should immediately seek medical care. Soon after with his primary care physician he had diagnostic imaging scans with intravenous contrast to give more definition to the findings from his Ezra screening scan. This follow up from his Ezra scan alerted him to what was diagnosed as Stage III renal cancer - cancer in his kidneys that had spread to his nearby lymph nodes and vein.
Renal cancer rarely presents itself with obvious symptoms. Therefore when symptoms manifest in most people the cancer is already very advanced. The most common symptoms include blood in urine, back pain or a palpable mass in the abdomen or back. The risk factors for renal cancer include smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, chronic kidney disease, occupational exposure to toxic compounds, such as cadmium, asbestos, petroleum byproducts and genetic factors.
This is why Sam’s proactive decision was as remarkable as the Ezra cutting edge technology that helped. He did not have any symptoms. He did not have any risk factors. He had genetic testing and it was deemed the kidney cancer was not hereditary. He was living a very healthy lifestyle and was vigilant about monitoring his health. Yet, Sam was still diagnosed with stage III cancer. Ultimately, it was about being proactive and it was using the Ezra scan that enabled Sam to discover his cancer earlier than if he was reactive.
Being proactive about your health is vital. And today with new technologies it is easier than ever to take steps early. Early detection of cancer improves survival rates and that applies to renal cancer as well. The 5 year survival rate in the United States for stage 3 renal cancer is 75% which has doubled over the past 60 years. We can attribute the growing survival rate to early detection of tumors and curative surgical treatment. Surgery is the cure in the majority of patients whose renal cancer has not spread and is the preferred treatment for patients with stages I, II and III.
Sam’s doctors recommended surgical removal of the tumors with the intent to save as much of his kidneys as possible. His surgeon has started work and has removed 9 masses from the first kidney and will soon attempt surgery on the second kidney. He will likely not need chemotherapy. They did not remove any healthy kidney tissue and this improves his chances of not needing dialysis. Both improve his prognosis for a good outcome and quality of life.
Sam has courageously and generously shared his story with us and we are very grateful. His journey is a difficult one but his proactive nature, strength, and confidence is obvious. His story is incredible and inspiring. The Ezra family sends Sam heartfelt well wishes and a speedy recovery.