Stage 4 Kidney Cancer: John Friedberg, MD

An Altered Viewpoint

There are some things we can only experience for ourselves.

Very few who have not had cancer would believe how little is known about treatment and how ineffective most of it is. As this becomes evident we are dying. It is too late for most.

In my case, my chest was ravaged by metastatic kidney cancer. My red blood cells were mysteriously gone, while the chemotherapy I had obediently taken for three months had done nothing. I was not expected to live.

Good fortune led me to Robert Nagourney, MD, an oncologist who does functional profiling on samples of patients’ tumors. Just in the nick of time I made a “pilgrimage” to his office in Long Beach, California.

The test, or “functional profile” of my tumor, led to a recommendation for a combination of three conventional anti-cancer drugs. However, none are drugs of choice for kidney cancer; none of them would have been used as “standard” therapy.

Within two weeks, my chest x-ray was clearing and my blood count was improving. I was feeling better. As of this writing, five months after diagnosis and two months on the new treatment, my chest metastases are “melting away.”

I have no assurance that the army of kidney cancer cells, won’t come back tomorrow. I may be living on borrowed time. I am choosing to use it to tell my story.

Because even though I’m a physician, I suspect my encounter with cancer is not that different from the experience of others.

Except, perhaps, for the outcome.

The public needs to know about the functional profiling tests I had and about the handful of physicians like Dr. Nagourney who are saving lives with personalized cancer therapy every day.

Nagourney Cancer Institute
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