Tuesday, June 26, 2007

kidney tumour

I have a 3.5 cm tumour on my left kidney.

This was discovered by CT scan in early May after a few hours of pain in that spot. There has been no pain and no other symptoms apart from that, before or since.

Recently, I asked to see the x-rays generated by the CT scan and I was shown the slide show (over 400 x-rays) and the tumour was pointed out to me. It looked a bit like these images which I found on the internet.

I'm due for surgery on Tuesday July 3 and the plan is to do a laparoscopic (keyhole) nephrectomy. Due to the position of the tumour and the possibility of cancer the whole kidney, adrenal gland and lymph nodes will be removed.

What I've discovered is that a kidney tumour, which may be cancer, is a Catch-22 situation. In fact, one of my doctors used the phrase, Catch-22, in describing it.

If we don't cut it out then it might be cancer. If we do cut it out then it might turn out not to be cancer

This unsatisfactory situation arises from these factors:
  • Chemo doesn't work on kidney cells because kidney cells are designed to remove toxic chemicals!!
  • The kidney has a rich blood supply (because its job is to filter the blood) and so any attempt to biopsy a kidney tumour will spread it to other parts of the body
  • There is no blood marker for kidney cancer

It is upsetting to have no choice really but to go through with major surgery when I'm not even certain that I have cancer. I am in the process of dealing with that as a psychological issue. I've done my own internet research but at some point you have to trust the experts

My prognosis for full recovery is about 90%


Durff said...

Praying for a speedy and full recovery!

lucychili said...


Anonymous said...

Hi Bill,

There is a Australian Kidney Cancer Group at ;

and a lovely lady called Pam who set it up I'm sure if she could help you she will.

Rose woodward-fellow KC patient in the UK

Unknown said...

I've sending every good wish that I've got. Take care - the cards are very much stacked in your favour!

Unknown said...

I've sending every good wish that I've got. Take care - the cards are very much stacked in your favour!

shenki said...

Good luck Bill, you will be in my thoughts.

Bill Kerr said...

thanks for support

my surgeon phoned today and asked me to come in early, 3 days before the op, which would be this saturday

I'm on blood thinners (clexane self injections) and they want to make sure that the thinning process is reversed, which requires a drip

The day before method they were planning initially is probably OK but given that I had a mysterious serious bleeding episode before they are taking no chances

Overall, it's reassuring, although inconvenient to be lying around for 3 days prior to my operation. Guess I'll have to get used to it.

Anonymous said...


Good luck - I had a radical open nephrectomy 2001.09.05 a laparoscopic removal gives you every hope of rapid recover from what otherwise is a major operation.

You may find information you need at:

www.KidneyCancerResource.com or to chat about the problems and Challenges try:


Be wells soon and have warm hands as there are many holding your hand through this difficult time who have gone down the same path ahead of you.

Greg L-W.

Unknown said...

Bonjour Bill,

Even in this difficult moment you manage to use your own internal data to write a post where I've learnt many things.

I've been reading your excellent Blog for a while and I can tell you there's none like yours. So, I count on you to continue!!

I wish you all the best for this operation. Reading your blog it's clear to me you're strong in your head and I believe all will go well.

On my side I modestly contribute my CPU time to the folding@home project:

All the best to you from somewhere in the East part of France.

"Engage!"* (or "make it so"*) and keep us up to date.


*On your picture you look a little like Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

Anonymous said...

Mate, hope it all goes well even if it's the selfish reason that I want to catch up with you @ CEGSA!! Seriously, with our advanced medical science and skilled surgeons here in
Adelaide there probably isn't a better place in the world to be for your surgery. Best wishes.

Sylvia said...

we'll be thinking about you!

Anonymous said...

all the best Bill :)

Wara said...

All the best Bill.