Cancer patient stories

  1. Ruth Smith

    Partial nephrectomy preserves kidney function after kidney cancer

    'I knew where I wanted to go' When doctors at her local emergency room told Ruth Smith they detected something on her imaging studies that looked like a kidney tumor, she said, "Are you sure it's cancer?" "Never in a million years did I imagine my severe back pain was caused by cancer," says Smith, [...]

  2. "From worst to first" after kidney cancer surgery

    "At 45, I was too young to plan my own funeral," says Jasper Johnikin, an apartment complex maintenance supervisor from Milwaukee, Wis. But that's exactly what Jasper was contemplating one holiday weekend several years ago. "I'll never forget it," he says. "My doctor called me on Memorial Day and told me I had renal cancer [...]

  3. Pleased Patient Shows Enduring Gratitude with Tattoo

    David Prochello is no stranger to getting tattoos. He builds custom choppers, he has tats on his arms and a large one on his upper back inscribed: “I am my own role model.” So when Prochello, of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota,  received drug therapy and surgery at Mayo Clinic to treat kidney cancer, he felt [...]

  4. After successful kidney transplant, retiree is 'Living the Dream'

    As Bill Pearse was rushed to the hospital in severe pain, he directed the ambulance to take him to Mayo Clinic in Arizona. The emergency department team diagnosed Pearse with kidney stones — a relief. But additional tests revealed something far worse: a cancerous tumor on one kidney. Mayo Clinic physicians "were very persistent in [...]

  5. Michelle Ernsdorff

    Compass to Care: The Mike & Sandy Ernsdorff Childhood Cancer Foundation

    In 1974, 14-month old Michelle Ernsdorff was diagnosed with a Wilm's tumor, a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children. Michelle's hometown pediatricians in Dubuque, Iowa, had little experience treating a child with Wilm's, so her parents, Mike and Sandy Ermsdorff, began searching for other options. They soon learned that Mayo Clinic was hosting a [...]

  6. John Gillis

    When John Gillis got esophageal cancer, he trusted Mayo Clinic

    John Gillis went to "the best place possible" when he got esophageal cancer and got a result that he never imagined. The persistent stomach pain caught John Gillis by surprise. The active 53-year-old had rarely been sick a day in his life. He sought care from a doctor in his hometown of Fishers, Ind., who [...]

  7. Jorge Rivera

    Life-saving surgery provides a second chance

    Jorge Rivera raised his cell phone and took a self-portrait that showed an almost imperceptible scar on his neck. Rivera, an administrative manager at FirstBank in San Juan, Puerto Rico, underwent a new type of surgery at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, to remove his cancerous esophagus and restore his digestive system. Today, he is cancer-free [...]

  8. Ricky Rinehart

    Ricky Rinehart: Raising Funds for Cancer Research One Mile at a Time

    As he biked 213 miles of desert between Yuma, Ariz., and Phoenix in temperatures above 90 degrees, Ricky Reinhart thought a lot about moving forward. Much the same as he did a year ago as he laid in a bed at Mayo Clinic Hospital recovering from surgery for esophageal cancer. To celebrate his “first birthday” [...]

  9. Ricky Rinehart

    Cancer Survivor Bikes the Desert to Deliver Donation

    To celebrate his “first birthday” after treatment for esophageal cancer, Ricky Rinehart, 54, rode his bike to Mayo Clinic — 213 miles across the desert from his home in Yuma to Phoenix, Ariz. Thirteen friends, family and co-workers joined him for the two-day ride last October. They delivered more than $10,000 in donations for cancer [...]

  10. Jorge Rivera

    Singing Praise After New Esophageal Cancer Treatment

    Esophageal cancer took Jorge Rivera, 47, by surprise. An auto loan manager and a father of three, he had a full life and a passion for performing sacred music with his family. Rivera, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, had “the usual” heartburn symptoms from what he describes as a typical Puerto Rican diet. But a [...]

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