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Patient Stories

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Larry Mazella

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Larry Mazella

Today’s Voice of Kidney Cancer, Larry Mazella shares how he was diagnosed and how he chose to participate in two different kidney cancer clinical trials.  Even though his first treatment option wasn’t successful, he was able to enroll in a second clinical trial that is continuing to shrink his cancer.

On June 26, 2016, without any other symptoms or pain, I started passing blood in my urine.  I went to the local emergency room and at 6 pm, I was informed that I had a 12 cm tumor on my right kidney, along with enlarged lymph nodes, lesions in my lungs, and signs of metastatic disease in my bones.  My life changed in an instant.  I went from believing I was healthy, to be diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer.

Within days, I went to the Cleveland Clinic, where I met with Dr. Kaouk and Dr. Rini.  I can’t tell you how vulnerable and terrified I was in that moment.  But the team at Cleveland Clinic really changed my outlook by giving me a treatment plan.  Knowing that there was a path that would allow me to fight this disease and knowing that there were multiple options for therapy gave me hope.

Less than a month later, I had a radical nephrectomy along with the removal or lymph nodes that were positive for clear cell renal cell carcinoma. I recovered quickly and was able to go back to work two weeks later.

I decided to enroll in a clinical trial of Axintinib+Avelumab versus Sutent.  I was randomized into the Sutent arm.  The side effects of Sutent were tough, but I managed it quite well.  Unfortunately, my disease didn’t respond to the drug.  After five cycles, we decided to change to a new clinical trial.  I’m now on nivolumab + PT2385.  Six months and three scans later, I’m doing well on this combination.  Each scan has shown continue shrinkage of my disease.  I have some side effects, but they’re minor and don’t really impact my quality of life.

Each day, I’m grateful for my care team and the treatments that continue to shrink my cancer. I’m hopeful for more time to spend with my beautiful wife Jill of 35 years, my three children and my 3 wonderful grandchildren.  I would tell anyone facing this diagnosis to find the best care possible and to stay hopeful for the future.

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