Watch the video to hear Sam’s story
“I’m a lifelong athlete and I’ve always taken my health seriously so I was shocked that the Ezra scan showed stage 3 kidney tumors on both kidneys. My physician says taking the scan has given me a chance for a longer life.”
Both my wife Susan and I would confidently describe ourselves as very fit, active, and healthy individuals. I have always thought of myself as a lifelong athlete as over the years, I have completed more than 200 marathons and have conquered 10 ironman competitions.
This last year, I’ve been taking pilates classes, engaging in strength and conditioning workouts, and embarking on regular cycling adventures. As a couple, Susan and I have consciously evolved our diets to promote not only our physical well-being but also our mental health.
“I decided to have an Ezra scan after looking carefully at the science and the options because I wanted to know what's going on inside my body and stay ahead of any issues. Better the devil you know!"
I attended the Ezra imaging facility in Los Angeles where I had a great experience getting my scan. Ezra delivered the results promptly and reached out to tell me that unfortunately numerous solid kidney masses, that look like cancer, were found in both of my kidneys. The largest tumor was 7.5 cm in the left kidney and I was advised to see my primary care physician for follow up with a diagnostic scan to further characterize the masses.
I immediately reached out to my physician and the scans were transferred in minutes from Ezra to UCLA. The following work up showed that I had Stage 3a renal cancer. Stage 3 means the cancer has grown into nearby vessels (veins/arteries) or has spread to the nearby lymph nodes. Unfortunately, In my case I have both.
“I was feeling well and had no symptoms to suggest I had cancer at all. In fact most people with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) do not have obvious symptoms. This means that RCC is sometimes not found until the cancer is advanced.”
UCLA advised me that Ezra’s findings were accurate and that I had multiple tumors on both kidneys. That the cancer was stage 3 and had not metastasized and I have a very good fighting chance of dealing with the disease but that major surgery would be required to remove the tumors and that whilst I won’t need Chemotherapy I will need to prepare for a ‘marathon’ of operations.
“I have been told that stage 3a renal cancer has a 72% survival rate, and Stage 4 is 11%. Thanks to taking the Ezra scan I have given myself a fighting chance.”
“Following surgery the biopsy report is in. I do NOT have clear cell RCC. Rather all nine tumors removed were similar and of a rare hybrid cancer variety.
1) Oncocytic, plus
2) Chromophobe renal cell carcinoma
I very likely have Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHD) which is a genetic condition. This is fortunate news as the resulting hybrid tumor type is slow growing (0.1 inches per year) and usually does not metastasize unless neglected. Both the surgeon and my PCP said that if left untreated for a couple more years my largest 7cm tumor (left kidney) would likely have resulted in my early death. But, it is now gone from my body and I am safe.
In January 2024 I will have a repeat open surgery on my right kidney. The largest tumor there is about half the size of what was just removed from my left kidney. Risk of metastasis is very low and it is safe for me to first fully recover from my surgery 3 weeks ago before addressing my right side. My right kidney has 10 tumors.”
In the United States, there are approximately 82,000 new cases and almost 15,000 deaths from renal cell carcinoma (RCC) each year. Worldwide, there are over 400,000 new cases of RCC and over 170,000 deaths annually due to kidney cancer.
Risk factors include: smoking, hypertension, obesity, chronic kidney disease, occupational exposure to toxic compounds, such as cadmium, asbestos, petroleum by-products and genetic factors.
Most people with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) do not have obvious symptoms. This means that RCC is sometimes not found until the cancer is advanced. When symptoms do occur, the most common ones include blood in urine, back pain or a palpable mass in the abdomen/back of thinner individuals.
Survival rate in USA (5 year survival rate around 75%) has doubled over the past 60 years. This improved survival rate is mostly due to earlier detection of these tumors at smaller sizes and curative surgical treatment.