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Sarcomatoid Renal Cell Carcinoma

© Sandra Hill's Sarcomatoid RCC Story, told on July 2004

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On March 19, 2001, I was having what I thought was a routine ultrasound for a possible gall balder problem.  I was certainly surprised when the radiologist announced I had a large tumor growing on top of my right kidney.  Of course my immediate response was "you must be mistaken, I'm here for my gall bladder".  I never once thought cancer, just figured you remove the tumor and continue with your life.  Two days later, I heard the word cancer for the very first time.

On April 11, 2001 I had surgery to remove the 9.4 cm tumor, along with my adrenal gland, right kidney and part of my liver.  Medical University of South Carolina performed the surgery and original pathology report.  My diagnosis was Stage 4 Sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma.  The majority of my tumor morphologically resembled leiomyosarcoma.  There was very little classic carcinoma present.

I went online to find a hospital with a track record of treating this type of kidney cancer. After doing some research, I decided to go to M D Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas for additional scans and to have the pathology report confirmed.  The bone scan was clear, but the lung scans showed metastatic sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma in both lungs.  The treatment plan was a combination of chemotherapy drugs, Ifosfamide and Adriamycin for 4 to 6 treatments.  I was to receive chemotherapy as an in patient with the drip to last 18 hours per day for 4 days per cycle.

The Medical University of SC, worked with M D Anderson and followed the prescribed protocol which allowed me to receive treatment closer to home.  After 4 treatment cycles, I continued with the aggressive treatment plan of receiving immunotherapy injections for 10 months.

I have been cancer free since November 2001.  I have advanced from 4 month to 6 month scans.  My only residue of treatment is that  my remaining kidney is not to premium, but still functions fine.  I still have some chemo fog, especially if I'm over-tired.  Life is great.