A 48-year-old Filipino-American, who is a citizen of the United States, was operated upon at a Dubai hospital to remove a 1.8kg tumour from his left kidney. The patient was airlifted from Baghdad in an air ambulance after he was diagnosed with a renal cell carcinoma — the most common kidney cancer found in adults. However, it was the size of the tumour that took doctors by surprise.

The patient, Armand Castaneda, 48, a production controller with a project in Baghdad, Iraq, was rushed to the Emergency section of Prime Hospital in Dubai in an air ambulance last week, directly from the project site, as he complained of pain, blood in the urine and blood clots.

Dr Sanjay Bhat, consultant Urologist at Prime Hospital, who had operated on Castaneda on June 18, explained: “Renal cell carcinoma is common and we deal with five to ten cases every year. However, I had seen a tumour this large only once in the last ten years.”

Never ignore traces of blood in the urine
Dr Bhat cautioned: “One must never ignore any trace of blood in urine and in this case, the patient’s tumour measured 25cm and must have been growing for at least five years. Nowadays, many patients even with minor issues of gas formation in the stomach, come in for an ultrasound. So, what was surprising about this particular case was that the tumour was left to grow this big. It had impacted the entire left kidney and the patient had excessive swelling, bleeding and pain.”

Four-hour surgery, 25cm incision
In a four-hour surgery, through a 25cm incision, the complete left kidney, along with neighbouring fat cells, was excised. Castaneda, who has shown remarkable improvement over the last five days, is all set to fly back to the US.

He told Gulf News: “I am thankful to have got such expert help in this region at Prime Hospital. It was an emergency as the tumour was very painful. Dr Bhat did an excellent job, excising it and I am feeling very energised. I began walking and have been working remotely for the last two days, as I am pain-free now. I am going to be discharged by June 25 or so and I am looking forward to flying back to the US.”

Chances of complete recovery high in renal cell carcinoma
Patients with renal cell carcinoma usually recover completely post-nephrectomy. Dr Bhat explained: “The cancerous tumour, along with the entire kidney, was removed and the results usually are encouraging. However, the patient will have to undergo cancer screening annually to rule out any secondary development.”

What is renal cell carcinoma?
Dr Bhat said: “Renal cell carcinoma or kidney cancer is the most common kind of kidney cancer found in adults. Usually, people who are obese, have a history of chronic hypertension, who are chronic smokers and those who take aspirin and pain-killers have a tendency for such kidney cancers.”

Doctors say that it is advisable to go for an ultrasound if one has any of the following symptoms:

• Pain, swelling in the region of one of the kidneys.

• Traces of blood in urine.

• Fever.

• Those with a history of Hepatitis C.

• Those who have been undergoing dialysis and have had cystic kidney disease.

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