Not long ago, being diagnosed with kidney cancer was tantamount to a death sentence.
“It meant that you had anywhere from four to six months to live, so get your affairs in order,” said kidney cancer patient Jeff Katz, who was diagnosed in February 2007.
Katz, who shared his story with Metro yesterday to mark National Kidney Month, initially had a kidney removed due to a cancerous tumour in 1999. That was followed by five years of chest X-rays to ensure the cancer had not spread. Three months after his last X-ray, he developed a severe dry cough, which a CT scan revealed was fourth stage terminal cancer.
Since kidney cancer is very difficult to detect, it is usually discovered at a much later stage compared to other forms of cancer.
“We had been told the cancer was totally eradicated by … taking out my left kidney,” said the local.
Thanks to a new targeted medication, the 65-year-old retired federal government employee’s cancer has been stabilized.
Approximately 4,500 Canadians are diagnosed with kidney cancer annually.