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Your Healthy Family: Dad's Kidney Cancer Found During Annual Physical

Posted at 4:11 PM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 18:11:12-04

CLEVELAND, OHIO — Every year in September, Bill Cosgrove schedules his annual physical. But, last year he decided to postpone the exam. He said he felt fine at the time and thought it could wait.

“I felt nothing was changing that I procrastinated a little bit because of COVID-19, something you shouldn't do I learned,” said Bill.

He wound up scheduling his appointment at Cleveland Clinic a few months later, and it was at that time his doctor noticed something unusual.

“He looked at me and said, ‘You know, everything else seems to be in line, but the triglycerides are so far off that let's do an ultrasound just to make sure that the liver is healthy,’” Bill recalled.

During the ultrasound, they also looked at his kidneys and found what appeared to be a dark spot, so his doctor ordered a CT scan.

“It was three or four hours later after I came home that the doctor called me and told me that it's definitely a tumor,” said Bill.

Bill and his wife Paula were in shock.

“I had no pain anywhere. In that sense, it was almost like an out of body experience because I felt no different than I've ever felt,” said Bill.

“All I heard was renal cancer, and I just, I couldn't comprehend what was going on or happening at the time,” Paula added.

Bill’s doctor wasted no time devising a treatment plan and by January, he was heading into surgery to get the tumor removed.

“The way this played out, we were able to get it out when it was still confined to the kidney,” explained Steven Campbell, MD, who is a kidney surgeon for Cleveland Clinic. “So he has had an excellent prognosis that he'll stay cancer free forever without any further treatment.”

Bill said he was relieved to be okay and encourages others not to put off their annual physicals.

“It's really important to get the annual physical. Everybody's got -- we all have excuses. Life is busy. But, you know, really without just going that extra step of preventative care, we were able to detect a tumor that would have been non-detected until it was highly problematic. So, we feel very fortunate,” said Bill.

According to research, kidney cancer is among the ten most common cancers for men and women. Symptoms often don’t become noticeable until late in the disease.