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Patient Stories

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Dez Burton

Dez Burton

In December 2017 I got diverticulitis for the first time in my life. My gastro doc sent me for a CT scan to see extent of the problem. He called me a few days later to tell me that I had a 5.7cm tumor in my right kidney and told me to see my urologist as soon as possible. 

I saw my urologist in early January 2018 and he confirmed from the scan that it looked like clear cell renal cell carcinoma (CCRCC), recommended I have a partial nephrectomy and referred me to an oncologist/surgeon at MD Anderson. I saw the oncologist in late January 2018 and initially he agreed that a partial nephrectomy was recommended, then sent me for a biopsy to confirm the CCRCC. 

After the biopsy I got a call from the oncologist’s PA saying that the doc now recommended cryoablation and set me up with an appointment for the procedure.

At this point I was getting very frustrated because from research on the internet it seemed that cryoablation was not always successful with tumors larger than 4cm. When I called back and questioned the PA (I was never able to talk with the doc when I called) she said you can ask the surgeon about it all when you go for the procedure! 

That was enough for me so I decided to get a second opinion from an oncologist at Houston Methodist and she told me that the guidelines for kidney cancer do not recommend cryoablation for tumors larger than 4cm and recommended partial nephrectomy. 

I went in for a laproscopic partial nephrectomy in March 2018. When the surgeon got into the kidney he found that the tumor was encroaching on the sinus area so decided to fully remove my kidney. I have since had all my 3 month scans and now 6 month scans and am now NED!

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