Appendix rupture led to surprise diagnosis of kidney cancer (w/VIDEO)

March 20, 2014 | by Valerie Zapanta

“One day I had a pain in my side and ended up having my appendix rupture. During that time of the appendix rupturing, they discovered I had a large tumor covering most of my kidney,” said Joelle Hood, a learning center principal and a certified life coach.

Hood's doctor referred her to City of Hope, where she met urologic oncology specialist Clayton Lau, M.D., an assistant clinical professor. They discussed the best treatment option for her cancer and took it day by day from there.


“Joelle had unexpectedly found out she had a large tumor on her kidney, which ended up being cancerous. The best option was to perform a robotic radical nephrectomy as most of the kidney was replaced by cancer," Lau said. “There are several benefits of minimally invasive surgery, such as quicker recovery time, less pain and minimal scarring, since only a few small incisions are made. The cancer was localized and she was cured through robotic surgery.”

Now cancer-free, Hood returned to all of her normal activities within four weeks after surgery. “When I met my doctor, he immediately made me feel at ease. I didn’t feel like a victim; I felt like I was going to be victorious,” said Hood, describing the City of Hope difference in the video above.

Listen (and watch) Hood's story above.

*** Our Approach

At City of Hope, we are actively developing tomorrow’s kidney cancer treatment protocols – today. Because City of Hope offers the expertise of specialists in all fields related to kidney cancer, our patients receive greater continuity of care and more coordinated treatment planning. Our multidisciplinary team includes urologists, urologic surgeons, medical oncologists, nephrologists, palliative care specialists, case managers and more, working cooperatively to provide the most effective, innovative and advanced kidney cancer treatments available. 

Learn more about our Kidney Cancer Program. To make an appointment, call 800- 826-HOPE (4673).


Read: "Kidney cancer rates are rising; expert explains risks, outcomes"


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