Recipe: Acorn Squash and Apple Soup

Squash and apples make a soothing cold-weather soup.

Squash and apples make a soothing cold-weather soup.

This soup takes an hour to prepare. It’s loaded with fiber and is a good source of potassium. It’s a nice dish for someone with nausea. It’s also easy on mouth sores. This recipe makes six 1-cup servings.

Ingredients

1 medium acorn or butternut squash (1½ to 2 pounds)

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 medium yellow onion, sliced (1/2 cup)

2 medium-sized tart cooking apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

¼ teaspoon dried basil leaves

2 14-ounce cans chicken broth (4 cups)

½ cup half-and-half

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon white or black pepper

Preparation

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half; remove seeds and fibers. Place cut sides up in 13-by-9-inch pan. Pour ¼ inch water into pan. Bake uncovered about 40 minutes or until tender. Cool. Remove pulp from rind and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in heavy 3-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender. Stir in apples, thyme and basil. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in broth. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 30 minutes.

3. Remove 1 cup apples with slotted spoon; set aside. Place one-third each of the remaining apple mixture and squash in a blender or food processor. Cover; blend on medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth, then pour into bowl. Continue to blend in small batches until all soup is pureed.

4. Return blended mixture and 1 cup reserved apples to saucepan. Stir in half-and-half, nutmeg, salt and pepper; cook over low heat until thoroughly heated.

Nutritional information

Each 1-cup serving contains:

190 calories

7 grams fat

20 milligrams cholesterol

670 milligrams sodium

690 milligrams potassium

6 grams fiber

5 grams protein

Source: “Betty Crocker Living With Cancer Cookbook”

This article appears in the fall 2017 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

 

Posted in health care, recipe | Leave a comment

Up Close: Breast imaging

Radiologist Amina Akhtar, MDRadiologist Amina Akhtar, MD, works from a bank of monitors to analyze mammography images at the Wellspring Breast Care Center at Upstate University Hospital’s Community campus. The center offers routine screening and diagnostic mammograms, ultrasound, tomosynthesis and breast magnetic resonance imaging, and image-guided biopsies provided by a dedicated staff of nurses, technologists, radiologists and surgeons. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, plus some Saturday mornings for screening mammograms; call 315-492-5702 for appointments. Upstate also offers imaging services at its downtown campus; call 315-464-2588. (PHOTO BY SUSAN KAHN)

Posted in cancer, health care, medical imaging/radiology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

WRVO app makes listening to Upstate podcast easy

Upstate’s “HealthLink on Air” podcast airs at 6 a.m and 9 p.m Sundays on WRVO Public Media.

HLOA1400x1400But you can listen whenever you like through the WRVO Public Media app, which is free to download onto Apple or Android devices. Find it through the App Store or Google Play. “HealthLink on Air” is also available in podcast form through iTunes.

The Upstate “HealthLink on Air” program is in its 12th year. It began as an hourlong radio talk show featuring experts from Upstate and around Central New York on subjects of health, medicine and science. “HealthLink on Air” is produced by journalists in Upstate’s marketing and university communications department.

Through the WRVO app, you are able to choose to hear an entire hourlong program or individual interview segments. Each show typically features three interview segments. The shows and segments are also available on the Upstate website at www.upstate.edu/healthlinkonair

To suggest topics for discussion, please email host Amber Smith at smithamb@upstate.edu, or producer Jim Howe at howeja@upstate.edu.

Amber at HLOA

Amber Smith hosts the Upstate podcast and WRVO talk show, “HealthLink on Air.” 

Posted in entertainment, Expert Advice, health care, podcast | Leave a comment

Advanced imaging, clot-retrieval help save stroke patients during holiday at Upstate Comprehensive Stroke Center

The Christmas feast was about to begin.

Twenty-three of Judy Klein’s loved ones were gathered in her Syracuse home. Her grandson had prepared a plate for her mother, Fannie Barber, 101. Klein’s daughter was talking with the matriarch, who was seated at the head of the table.

Barber suddenly could not speak. The right side of her face drooped into a crooked smile.

“You need to come and look at Grandma, quick,” Klein heard her daughter saying.

The Barber clan was one of nine families whose Christmas Eves or Christmas Days included stroke treatment at the Upstate Comprehensive Stroke Center.

Swarnkar (1)

Amar Swarnkar, MD

Amar Swarnkar, MD, director of diagnostic neuroradiology, and Gene Latorre, MD, medical director of the stroke service, were on duty. Along with other members of the stroke team, they were poised to care for patients with neurological emergencies during the holiday. Among the patients they cared for was Barber, who they believe is the oldest patient to undergo clot-retrieval at Upstate. They also took care of a man whose stroke was detected through a sophisticated brain scan and software program that’s only available at comprehensive stroke centers.

Alton Oherien, 40, of Oneida had no idea he was having a stroke when he awoke around 2 a.m. Dec. 24 with the worst headache of his life. He decided to try to sleep it off. Hours later when he awoke again, he stood up and lost his balance.

“I didn’t know what was going on. I just

Latorre, Julius Gene

Gene Latorre, MD

knew something was wrong,” he says. He called his sister, who lives nearby. She took him to Oneida Healthcare. In a standard computerized tomography scan, Oherien’s brain appeared normal, but his symptoms still suggested he was having a stroke. Doctors there sent him by ambulance to Upstate.Time is critical in stroke care. Normally, Oherien would be ineligible for any acute stroke treatment since he sought care more than six hours after the onset of his symptoms.

Upstate’s Comprehensive Stroke Center has state-of-the-art CT scan software that helps select patients who may still benefit from acute stroke interventions, even if they are outside of the standard time window for treatment. This allows doctors to offer life-saving treatment up to 24 hours after the onset of stroke symptoms, something no other stroke center in the region can do.

The CT perfusion imaging scan done at Upstate revealed brain tissue in jeopardy of dying. Circulation to this area, called the penumbra, was impaired and needed to be restored promptly. To do that, Swarnkar would insert a catheter in Oherien’s groin and thread it into his brain to find and remove the troublesome clot.

Oherien remembers everything. He followed instructions to stay still, and to not talk during the procedure, called a thrombectomy.

Soon after the clot was out, Oherien says he felt better. “The next day, I really got to feeling back to normal.” Three days later, he got to go home, but Oherien spent Dec. 25 easing back to usual activities. Nurses helped him out of bed to walk, and later in the day he was able to eat lunch.

While Oherien recovered from his stroke, several blocks away from Upstate, Barber was enjoying the Christmas festivities from her spot at the head of the table. A plate of appetizers was in front of her, and her grand-daughter was at her side.

“She was perfect up until that moment,” recalls Judy Klein, Barber’s daughter.

When it was clear that something was wrong, Klein wrapped her arm around her mother: Are you in pain? Can you breathe? “She couldn’t get any words out.” Klein reassured her mother. “I kept telling her, ‘you’re fine. We called 911, and they’re coming to help us.’ ”

Klein rode with Barber in the ambulance to Upstate University Hospital’s emergency department. “When we got there, the doctor and his team were at the door,” she recalls. Her mother was whisked down the hall for a CT scan.

 

One of the caregivers talked with Klein about a clot-busting medication that could help Barber, since the stroke had begun less than three hours ago. They also discussed the thrombectomy procedure Barber would undergo with Swarnkar.

Everything happened swiftly.

“Within an hour, she was back to herself,” Klein says. “Her face was straight. She could move her left arm. She could speak clearly. And she wanted to go home.”

Klein, who describes her mother as a very healthy 101-year-old, says she will undergo rehabilitative therapy before returning home. Evenso, her mother’s rapid recovery from stroke seems to Klein like something of a Christmas miracle.

strokefast

Posted in aging/geriatrics, brain/neurology, brain/spine/neurosurgery, emergency medicine/trauma, health care, medical imaging/radiology, patient story

5 ways to cope with nausea and vomiting

Maria Erdman, registered dietitian nutritionist at the Upstate Cancer Center.

Maria Erdman, registered dietitian nutritionist at the Upstate Cancer Center. provides

Here are some tips to deal with the nausea and vomiting, provided by Maria Erdman, the Upstate Cancer Center’s registered dietitian nutritionist:

— Eat small, frequent meals.

— Avoid unpleasant odors.

— Avoid foods that are hot, spicy and strong-smelling or fried and greasy.

— Avoid drinking liquids at meals.

— Eat dry foods — such as crackers, toast and dry cereals – every two to three hours during the day.

Cancer Care magazine fall 2017 coverThis article appears in the fall 2017 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

Posted in cancer, diet/nutrition, health care, prevention/preventive medicine

Cows for cancer: Grateful granddaughter raises livestock to brighten patients’ days

Paige Lee with a cow she sold in 2016.

Paige Lee with a cow she sold in 2016.

Thomas Elwood lived his whole life on his farm in the village of Walton, in New York’s Southern Tier, with steers, pigs and chickens.

He was retired from Breakstone, the local creamery, where he worked for 45 years. He beamed when his grandchildren – he had seven — showed animals at county fairs. Beef cattle were his favorite.

Recalled his granddaughter, Paige Lee, 11, “Papa would help us wash our cows and get them ready for show and help us lead them.”

Paige's grandfather, Thomas Ellwood.

Paige’s grandfather, Thomas Ellwood.

Elwood especially enjoyed working with his grandchildren at the Broome County Fair in July in Whitney Point.

When Elwood developed lung cancer, he sought treatment at the Upstate Cancer Center. Rahul Seth, DO, took care of him. Elwood died at the age of 71 at the end of May 2016.

Two months after her Papa’s funeral, Paige brought one of the steers he helped her raise to the Broome County Fair. It sold for $2,200.

Some of that money Paige used to buy a pregnant cow, a plan she and her Papa had to help further her herd. The rest, she donated to the cancer center.

Paige with a cow she sold in 2017.

Paige with a cow she sold in 2017.

She remembered all the times her mother, Anne Lee, took her Papa for chemotherapy in Syracuse.

Paige decided to help people with cancer because she knows chemotherapy treatments can take a long time. “Having something to do makes it a lot better,” the sixth-grader explains. Her money paid for bags filled with special gifts for cancer patients from Thirty-One Gifts.

This article appears in the fall 2017 issue of Cancer Care magazine. To donate to Friends of Upstate Cancer Center, click here or contact the Upstate Foundation at 315-464-4416.

Posted in cancer, community, fundraising, health care, patient story

Will this tumor cause trouble? Need treatment? Researcher seeks answers in gene he discovered

Still images from two videos of prostate cell growth. The cluster of cells on the top, in blue, are spherical, indicating healthy cell growth. The images on the bottom, which has had the gene/protein Abi1 removed, show cell clusters that are nonspherical and loosely attached, and are trying to migrate out. (FROM THE LAB OF LESZEK KOTULA, MD, PhD)

Still images from two videos of prostate cell growth. The cluster of cells on the top, in blue, are spherical, indicating healthy cell growth. The images on the bottom, which has had the gene/protein Abi1 removed, show cell clusters that are nonspherical and loosely attached, and are trying to migrate out. (FROM THE LAB OF LESZEK KOTULA, MD, PhD)

BY AMBER SMITH

Ever since he discovered a gene that causes prostate cancer 20 years ago, Upstate cancer researcher Leszek Kotula, MD, PhD, has focused on understanding the mysteries of the cancer that, besides skin cancer, is most common in men.

Leszek Kotula, MD, PhD (PHOTO BY WILLIAM MUELLER)

Leszek Kotula, MD, PhD (PHOTO BY WILLIAM MUELLER)

Much of his career is devoted to prostate cancer – because of the numbers.

Each year, 23 million men undergo prostate-specific antigen screening tests. Some 1.2 million men who are found to have high PSA levels undergo a biopsy. Some 240,000 are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The vast majority of those men will have tumors that are noninvasive. About 3 percent will have an aggressive form of the disease that is difficult to treat.

That 3 percent represents some 7,200 husbands, fathers, brothers.

Those are the numbers that concern Kotula.

He dreams of being able to tell men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer more definitive news about their future. He wants to answer whether they have a tumor that will lie quietly within their prostate and cause no trouble, or a tumor that will spread to other organs and require treatment.

Kotula wants to be able to predict which tumor will remain indolent, and which will become invasive.

If he can do that, he can save lives.

Working together, Kotula’s team of biochemists and cell biologists uses a genetic engineering technique to study the disruption of “Abi1,” the gene he discovered in 1998.

They want to learn how the gene interacts with other genes and whether it plays a role in leukemias, breast, ovarian and other cancers.

Disharee Das, left, a doctoral student in biochemistry and molecular biology, puts a cell sample into a liquid nitrogen tank with help from her mentor, Kotula. (PHOTO BY WILLIAM MUELLER)

Disharee Das, left, a doctoral student in biochemistry and molecular biology, puts a cell sample into a liquid nitrogen tank with help from her mentor, Kotula. (PHOTO BY WILLIAM MUELLER)

“If we are successful, then we can make an impact on treatment,” Kotula says.

Discovering the Abi1 gene set him on this course.  Fast-forward two decades, and Kotula is focused on the function of the Abi1 gene. Its presence seems to inhibit prostate cancer, while the loss of function of this gene leads to prostate cancer.

Today his research involves three cell lines, one purchased commercially, one from genetically engineered mice at Upstate, and one from Upstate’s biospecimen bank, where some patients donate tissue from their tumors.

Looking under the microscope before the Kotula gene is removed – the scientific term is “”gene knockout” — the cells look as if they were melting into one big blob, and that blob spins.

The spinning stops when the gene is removed, and the cells are more individual, like a cluster of grapes. Some cells start to move out from the blob. “That’s where the process of invasion occurs,” Kotula says, explaining the moment the cancer begins to spread at the cellular level.

So far, there’s no easy way to tell when that occurs in an individual. Once cells metastasize to the lung or the bone, a patient’s tumors become visible through medical imaging. Before that happens, cellular changes aren’t visible.

But one day, Kotula hopes, doctors may be able to read a man’s genetics and tell him whether he has an aggressive form of cancer, or not.

About prostate cancer

When a man turns 60, his chance of developing prostate cancer soars. The American Cancer Society says three in five men over the age of 65 will develop prostate cancer.

It’s the most common cancer in men, other than skin cancer, and it is the third leading cause of cancer death in men, behind lung cancer and colorectal cancer.

The American Cancer Society projects that almost 27,000 men will die from prostate cancer this year.

Cancer Care magazine fall 2017 coverThis article appears in the fall 2017 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

 

Posted in cancer, health care, men's health, research, urology | Tagged , ,

73-mile trip for breast care is worth it to her

Laurie Gildea doesn't mind the drive from Binghamton to Syracuse for her care at Upstate. (PHOTO BY ROBERT MESCAVAGE)

Laurie Gildea doesn’t mind the drive from Binghamton to Syracuse for her care at Upstate. (PHOTO BY ROBERT MESCAVAGE)

BY AMBER SMITH

Laurie Gildea’s husband, Kevin does the research. She goes with her gut.

Lisa Lai, MD

Lisa Lai, MD

So when a routine mammogram in May 2017 found a suspicious lesion, and when a subsequent biopsy revealed breast cancer, Gildea suddenly needed a surgeon with breast cancer expertise.

“I have to feel confident with the people I’m with,” she says. As soon as she met Lisa Lai, MD, and Prashant Upadhyaya, MD, and the nurses and staff at the Upstate Cancer Center, Gildea recalls, “I immediately felt the connection.”

The Gildeas live in Binghamton. Laurie is a teacher’s aide. Kevin is a systems engineer.

Prashant Upadhyaya, MD

Prashant Upadhyaya, MD

The doctors’ credentials and experience impressed Gildea’s husband. Both are board-certified surgeons who frequently work together at Upstate. Lai completed her surgery residency in 2015. Upadhyaya finished his surgery residency in 2010 and then his plastic surgery residency in 2013.

The news of cancer that Gildea got after her mammogram was a surprise. Having survived so many previous medical tribulations – including a lung infection in 2001 that led to a partial lung removal – “I basically thought I’ve gone through enough in my life,” she says.

Gildea’s lung surgeon, Leslie Kohman, MD, helped arrange the biopsy and put her in touch with the two surgeons.

Leslie Kohman, MD

Leslie Kohman, MD

Her breast cancer was considered stage 1. It was small and had not spread from the breast. She did not require chemotherapy or radiation treatments. She underwent a mastectomy in early July. After her body heals, Upadhyaya would insert Gildea’s new implant.

The Gildeas are happy to travel to Syracuse to see the Upstate doctors.

“It’s really not that far,” Gildea says. “And for the care I’m given, it’s so worth the drive.”

Breast cancer stages

The stage of a breast cancer helps determine treatment options and a patient’s survival outlook.

Doctors determine the stage based on the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes are involved and whether cancer has spread elsewhere in the body.

Ductal carcinoma in situ, for instance, is considered stage zero. It is small and contained in the milk ducts of the breast.

Stages I and II are early breast cancers with tumors of various sizes that may involve one or two lymph nodes.

Stages II and III are locally advanced breast cancers, meaning the tumors are larger and/or the cancers may involve up to two lymph nodes.

Stage IV is metastatic breast cancer, which means it has spread to other parts of the body.

Cancer Care magazine fall 2017 coverThis article appears in the fall 2017 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

 

Posted in cancer, health care, lung/pulmonary, surgery, women's health/gynecology | Tagged ,

Catching cancer early: Routine mammogram spotted technician’s breast cancer

Kimberly White, a 28-year employee of Upstate, has survived breast cancer. She had surgery in December 2016 and finished radiation treatments in February 2017. (PHOTO BY WILLIAM MUELLER)

Kimberly White, a 28-year employee of Upstate, has survived breast cancer. She had surgery in December 2016 and finished radiation treatments in February 2017. (PHOTO BY WILLIAM MUELLER)

BY AMBER SMITH

In 28 years as a clinical technician at Upstate University Hospital, Kimberly White, 47, has cared for a wide variety of patients, including adults with cancer.

Today she has a new appreciation for the disease, as a survivor.

Her experience helps her relate to patients, especially those who undergo radiation therapy. “I share my story with patients, if the timing is right,” White says.

It was early fall 2016 when she went for her annual mammogram. An appointment that usually takes a half hour stretched to two and a half hours as technicians did additional sonograms.

Then White underwent a biopsy of her right breast, to get a sample of the tissue that appeared suspicious in the images. Results went to her gynecologist, who called her at about 6:30 p.m. one evening in October 2016. “That’s when I lost it,” she recalls.

Anna Shapiro, MD

Anna Shapiro, MD

White had ductal carcinoma in situ, an early cancer that was too small to feel. Only a mammogram would have noticed it.

She had the suspicious area removed in a lumpectomy. Soon after, she began radiation treatments at the Upstate Cancer Center with radiation oncologist Anna Shapiro. MD.

White’s radiation therapy continued through mid-February 2017. She returned to work at the end of the month.

Her treatment is complete, but White has follow-up appointments every six months. She feels good now. Cancer is no longer the first thing she thinks about when she wakes up in the morning.

She has become a mammography advocate, spreading a message of its importance to family members, co-workers, friends and anyone who reads this story: “Don’t be scared,” she says. “Just get it done.”

Time for your mammogram?

Radiologists and specially trained technologists at Upstate University Hospital offer state-of-the-art breast imaging in two comfortable, private locations with weekday and weekend scheduling:

Women’s Imaging:

* Upstate Specialty Services at Harrison Center, 550 Harrison St., Syracuse. Call 315-464-2588 for appointment.

* Wellspring Breast Care Center at the Community campus, 4900 Broad Road, Syracuse. Call 315-492-5702 for appointment.

Cancer Care magazine fall 2017 coverThis article appears in the fall 2017 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

Posted in cancer, health care, medical imaging/radiology, patient story, prevention/preventive medicine, surgery, women's health/gynecology | Tagged , , , , ,

Kidney cancer survivor says: Don’t ignore possible symptoms

Cancer survivor Alf Jacques, 68, first began making traditional Iroquois wooden lacrosse sticks at the age of 12. He worked alongside his father, Louis Jacques, who understood the design concept but had never actually crafted sticks himself. Through trial and error, the two learned how to make sticks together. (PHOTO BY JOHN BERRY)

Cancer survivor Alf Jacques, 68, first began making traditional Iroquois wooden lacrosse sticks at the age of 12. He worked alongside his father, Louis Jacques, who understood the design concept but had never actually crafted sticks himself. Through trial and error, the two learned how to make sticks together. (PHOTO BY JOHN BERRY)

BY JIM HOWE

Cancer survivor Alf Jacques has a message for people who notice unusual or troubling health symptoms.

“Get tested.”

The famed maker of traditional wooden lacrosse sticks noticed blood in his urine in June 2016 and quickly had himself checked out at the Onondaga Nation Health Center. Tests revealed he had an aggressive form of kidney cancer.

“Getting to my doctor immediately was the most important thing. If I had ignored it and had more symptoms two months later, it would have spread so far, it may not have been worth surgery,” said Jacques, 68, who grew up on the Onondaga Nation territory, south of Syracuse, and creates sticks in his workshop there.

“If you have any symptoms, get checked. That’s why we have health insurance. That’s why we have doctors. That’s why we have laboratories. Get checked. Don’t ignore it,” he advises.

“That’s what most people do: They ignore symptoms. It’s  human nature. They don’t want to accept something that might be a problem.”

Urologist Oleg Shapiro, MD, removed Jacques' cancerous kidney using small incisions. (PHOTO BY ROBERT MESCAVAGE)

Urologist Oleg Shapiro, MD, removed Jacques’ cancerous kidney using small incisions. (PHOTO BY ROBERT MESCAVAGE)

One thing that prompted Jacques to get himself checked was the memory of his grandfather, who ignored an infection that eventually led to his death.

Once Jacques was diagnosed with cancer, Jacques was referred to Upstate urologist Oleg Shapiro, MD, who advised surgery to remove the cancerous kidney as soon as possible.

Shapiro operated in late July 2016, “and pretty much they got everything, which is what you want to do. Fortunately, it hadn’t spread,” Jacques says, and body scans last year and this summer showed no evidence of cancer.

“That’s as good as it gets,” he says, and when he thinks about how he did not need either chemotherapy or radiation treatments, he says, “I’m lucky. I’m really, really lucky.”

Jacques had clear cell renal cell carcinoma, “which is the most common type of kidney cancer,” says Shapiro, an associate professor at Upstate. “It is also one of the most malignant or deadly ones.”

“He did absolutely the right thing by checking himself out right after noticing blood in the urine. Any delay in this situation can have dire consequences,” Shapiro notes.

“Overall, people need to understand that any unusual symptoms must be evaluated by a physician,” says Shapiro. “If Mr. Jacques did not seek help after his symptoms appeared, he may not be around today.”

Jacques, shown with a lacrosse stick he created, says he considers himself lucky -- to have survived kidney cancer and not to have needed chemotherapy or radiation after his surgery. (PHOTO BY JOHN BERRY)

Jacques, shown with a lacrosse stick he created, says he considers himself lucky — to have survived kidney cancer and not to have needed chemotherapy or radiation after his surgery. (PHOTO BY JOHN BERRY)

With robotic assistance, Shapiro performed a radical nephrectomy, removing the entire kidney and the fat surrounding it, using small incisions.

Jacques’ cancer had not spread, or metastasized, to other areas of his body. Since his surgery, he joined a clinical trial at Upstate to see whether a drug usually used to treat metastatic kidney cancer can help reduce the risk of the cancer returning in high-risk patients.

Other than the blood in his urine, Jacques says he didn’t notice any specific symptoms that might have pointed to kidney cancer.

He recalls feeling sluggish, but that may have been related to a mild heart attack he had in the spring of 2017 or to being overweight at the time, he said.

The healthy diet he was advised to follow after the heart attack is similar to what he follows as he functions with just one kidney. He has met several people since his kidney surgery who have also lost a kidney to cancer, and no one would ever guess they were functioning with only one kidney, he notes.

“Every now and then. I think, ‘Wow! I’m a cancer survivor.’ It’s just amazing. It’s not like something I wear across my forehead – ‘cancer survivor’ — but every now and then I remind myself,” he says.

Jacques in his workshop on the Onondaga Nation territory, south of Syracuse. (PHOTO BY JOHN BERRY)

Jacques in his workshop on the Onondaga Nation territory, south of Syracuse. (PHOTO BY JOHN BERRY)

About kidney cancer

 — The kidneys are a pair of organs whose main job is to filter the blood to remove excess water, salt and waste products, which become urine. People can lead a normal life with just one kidney and can survive on dialysis if they lose both.

— Early kidney cancers don’t usually cause any signs or symptoms, but more advanced ones might. The signs and symptoms that may signal kidney cancer more often are caused by a benign condition, such as an infection. Still, the American Cancer Society says to see a doctor if you develop: blood in the urine, low back pain on one side (not caused by injury), a lump on the side or lower back, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss not caused by dieting, persistent fever and/or anemia, a low red blood cell count.

— Kidney cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in both men and women. About 64,000 new cases of kidney cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017 – about 41,000 in men, and 23,000 in women. The average age at diagnosis is 64. The disease is uncommon in people younger than 45.

— Renal cell carcinoma, or RCC, also known as renal cell cancer or renal cell adenocarcinoma, accounts for about nine out of 10 kidney cancers. Clear cell carcinoma represents about 70 percent of cases of RCC. Its name comes from the pale, almost clear appearance of the cells under a microscope.

Source: American Cancer Society

Cancer Care magazine fall 2017 coverThis article appears in the fall 2017 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

Posted in cancer, health care, kidney/renal/nephrology, patient story, prevention/preventive medicine, surgery, technology, urology | Tagged , , , , , , ,