update re: mom’s renal cancer

Mom & I saw Dr. Feldman, her urologist, today at Mass General. She has clear cell renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer. It is small, a little under 2.5cm. In 10/08 it was about the same size, but then it was a cyst. Now a larger portion of the cyst is tumor. This is her left kidney. This cancer tends to grow slowly. In terms of treatment, he recommends treating the tumor and not the whole kidney. There are two basic options: watch the tumor actively for 4-6 months. But if she waits, the tumor may grow so large that it will be impossible to treat just the tumor and then you are taking about more invasive surgery to treat the entire kidney. The other option that he leans toward is called radio frequency ablation. You pass a needle through the kidney, similar to biopsy and kill the tumor with heat. It is a fairly effective treatment with a low recurrence rate. It is a good option for mom. The question now is what the radiologist, who did mom’s biopsy, thinks. Her name is Dr. Gervais. Dr. Feldman will consult with Dr. Gervais and then Mom will meet with Dr. Gervais. Appt. is not yet scheduled. There is no reason to rush this along. Dr. F. believes it is reasonable to wait and watch the tumor. It’s also reasonable to do the ablation in case the tumor gets too big for this procedure. Also, he said that Mom’s heart and kidneys and other vital organs are strong and functioning well at this point. There are risks with the ablation, including injury to the bowel and injury to some other areas of the kidney. But there are things Dr. Feldman can do just before the procedure begins to mitigate these risks. The ablation is a same day surgery with a radiologist using the same light anasthesia used for the biopsy. There is more risk than the biopsy, but recuperation is similar. So there will be more info coming once mom meets with the radiologist, Dr. Gervais once that appt. gets scheduled. That’s all for now.


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