Column: Scan your body regularly: early detection is key

Joe Webb
Posted 7/5/22

Having kidney stones this year saved my life.

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Column: Scan your body regularly: early detection is key

Posted

Having kidney stones this year saved my life.

It seems like a bizarre thing to say, but in the process of being diagnosed with those stones via a CT scan, a tumor was also discovered on my left kidney. It was something that got my attention in a hurry.

I resolved to learn everything I could about the conditions and causes of this tumor. What the tumor consisted of was a renal cell carcinoma.

It was a slow-growing thing that was about 4 centimeters long when discovered. It also had taken up residence in my body for approximately 10 years prior to its discovery.

These sorts of tumors are in fact surprisingly common. Actor Cameron Mathison and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy have been diagnosed with the same cancer.

Mr. Mathison and I both had partial kidney removal to get rid of our cancers, Gov. Murphy had to have a full removal of one of his kidneys.

I read where at least 50,000 of these full or partial kidney removals (nephrectomy) are done in the United States each year. This procedure is done mostly on men, although women can be diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma as well.

Cancer survivor is not something I imagined I would be able to say about myself when 2022 began. From the time I was diagnosed with cancer to the successful eviction of this tumor from my body, it was a little less than four months.

Because my treatment was so quick and comprehensive, it seems like I am appropriating something — cancer survivor — that is not mine. But I was diagnosed with a cancer that could have killed me. It was found in the early stages, which made the doctor’s jobs easier, thank God.

I had an easier time of it than others because I was very, very fortunate. I had kidney stones, which led to the discovery of a tumor that could have killed me. Now the tumor is out of my body, and it has a very low chance of reoccurrence.

I would be remiss if I did not publicly thank the fine professionals at the Urology Center of Colorado, including Dr Devin Patel, for bringing this matter to a swift and successful conclusion. They are true professionals that are doing what is necessary for the care of others in our state on a regular basis. I am grateful everyday that our paths crossed.  

Finally, my situation was caught and resolved through luck. If I could emphasize one thing to each of you, it is the importance of scanning your body regularly to detect the problems that may exist and cause havoc. Through good luck and fortune, I was able to resolve my problems.

Early detection of any issue is worth quite a bit in terms of peace of mind and good health for the long term.

Joe Webb is the former chairman of the Jeffco Republican party.

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