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CancerGuide: Inspirational Patient Stories

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Robert Clawson - Stage IV Renal Cell Cancer

In September 1995 I was diagnosed with Stage IV Renal Cell Cancer in Connecticut and told that there was nothing that could be done because it was incurable at that stage. In September 1996 after several months of treatment and three operations, I was declared "Cancer Free" at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. I will never forget my doctor's response after we had discussed my final tests in her office. I said "They told me I was going to die." She responded "Tell 'em you didn't."

After learning I had a large tumor on my right kidney and several "spots" in my lungs (plus a metastatic spot on my Tibia) which were confirmed to be Renal Cell Cancer through needle biopsies, I needed to search for a suitable hospital to get treatment. After a search of the "Net" and the NIH library by myself and my daughter, I decided that MD Anderson was the best place for me. MD Anderson was showing 25 - 30 percent response to their treatment protocol and that looked a lot better than the 0% prognosis I was faced with in Connecticut.

I visited MDA in October 1995, and had my right kidney removed in Connecticut in November 1995. I traveled to Houston in January 1996 to begin my treatment. My treatment cycle (month) consisted of one week of 24 hour intervenous 5FU with five days of subcutaneous injections of Interleukin-2 and Interferon, followed by two four-day weeks of only the Il-2 and interferon, and a final week the same as the first. These treatment cycles were interspersed with operations and recovery periods.

After three months of treatment and a reduction in the size of the tumors in my lungs, I was scheduled for surgery to remove the ten spots that were on both lungs. This surgery was successful. Following another month of treatment, the cancer was removed from my tibia and a reinforcement rod installed in the tibia to prevent the bone from breaking. This surgery was also successful, however, much more painful than the lung or kidney surgery.

I finished my treatment in September 1996 and took a final battery of baseline tests (CAT, X-ray, Bone-scan and blood) to determine the success of the nine months of treatment and operations I had endured at MD Anderson.

I was delighted to hear that my scans were clean and that I was "Cancer Free."

I don't know what the future holds for me but my lungs have been clear for five months and I expect they will remain that way. I have a checkup at MDA in January 1997.

Please free to drop Robert a note!

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This CancerGuide Page By Robert Clawson. © Robert Clawson
Last Updated: 1999