My Kidney Cancer And The Link To Mesothelioma

In October of 2009 I got a call from my urologist. What we thought were kidney stones turned out to be a large mass that had literally eaten my left kidney. He told me that he was sorry, but he diagnosed me with kidney cancer. Earlier that year, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Now, does that make me a cancer expert? No, of course not. But this is an important fact to share with you, because otherwise you my question my legitimacy in writing about kidney cancer, mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos induced diseases. With that being said, I would never dare to give you any medical advice. This article is just to show you how important it is to consult with a medical expert in the event you encounter unusual signs or symptoms.

Blood in the urine is probably the most commonly cited among all kidney cancer symptoms. I was working on a project outside which required me to do a lot of physical tasks I was not used to, like moving heavy stones and sand. So naturally, I was not thinking of anything serious when I started to feel a weird kind of pain in my abdominal area, specifically in both flanks. I attributed that occurrence to the fact that I was simply not used to such strenuous physical activities.

However, it was probably a week later while I was working out – I had to take a break and went to the bathroom. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I was urinating dark red blood. There was not room to mistake it for anything else but blood. I still had that abdominal discomfort, but calling it ‘pain’ would have been a bit of a stretch.

Nonetheless, trying to be a tough guy I decided to ignore the incident. I thought I might have dislocated something and it will just go away by itself. And it actually went away for a couple of days. But then it came back and even stronger than before. This time, though, there were pieces of tissue in the urine. Finally, I was convinced that I should better see an urologist.

The urologist gave me an exam and explained that I probably had kidney stones. Given my young age and overall rather healthy physical condition, this was unusual but not completely impossible. I got convinced that the blood was not a sign of kidney cancer, after all, that would have been even less likely than stones. Further to that, I had to give a urine sample which was tested negative for malignancy. So no signs of kidney cancer which was quite a relief.

The next step was a CAT-Scan to better locate the exact position and size of the stones. I got that done and then I haven’t heard back for a couple of weeks. In the meantime, the blood in my urine had completely subsided. Well, and then, as mentioned earlier, the urologist called me that the CAT-Scan revealed at 7cm mass in my left kidney. He then scheduled a cystoscopy for me to basically go inside and get an understanding of whether or not the cancer had already spread to the adrenal gland or ureter.

In the meantime my wife and I got very concerned that there might be an issue with our house, the water or the soil in the yard. It was just too odd to be coincidental that we both got diagnosed with cancer within the matter of a few months.

During the cystoscopy, a 30cm stent was inserted into my ureter. The pain I experienced after the procedure and while urinating was excruciating. At times I thought I was going to pass out. But the good news was that there was no sign of spread outside the organ, the mass was confined to the kidney. In late November my left kidney was removed via a laparoscopic surgery. It was a radical nephrectomy, which means the entire organ was removed. Other than that I was fortunate enough to not have to undergo any other kidney cancer treatments.

The pathology of my tumor revealed that my cancer was probably as old as 20 years. That was another important finding, because that conclusively confirmed that there was absolutely no link between my wife’s and my cancer. Up until 2005, I wasn’t even living in the United States but thousands of miles away in Germany. That left me with the question: What was my kidney cancer caused by? My oncologist and I tried to narrow it down and it turned out that back than I was exposed to asbestos for a prolonged period. I had to handle asbestos cement sheets during a construction project I was involved in. Back then I was completely unaware of the health hazards that are associated with unprotected asbestos exposure and the development of mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and kidney cancer. Thus, for over a year I had inhaled and ingested the carcinogenic asbestos fibers.

It is of paramount importance that you don’t just ignore what your body is trying to tell you. Should you freak out after a cough? No, that’s not the point. But if you have anything else going on that is out of the ordinary, don’t wait around. Making a medical appointment right away; it can actually save your life.

Source by Tony Ulrich

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