Health Watch: Kidney Cancer

January 9, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Every year, nearly fifty-two-thousand Americans are diagnosed with kidney cancer.It's tough to beat because kidney cancer is often caught in late stages.

Robert Skinner has been battling cancer for five years.

Robert Skinner: "Some people, when they're diagnosed with cancer, get very upset and they say, 'Why me?' Why not?"

Joe Guthro is fighting too, with one goal in mind.

Joe Guthro: "To live a few more years."

Both have advanced kidney cancer a disease doctor Anil Kapoor says has a grim prognosis.

Anil Kapoor, M.D., Surgical Oncologist: "Often, patients would choose not to go on anything knowing that they have metastatic cancer because the success rate was so poor."

That's changing with a new drug called Temsirolimus. It regulates the production, growth and survival of cells.

Anil Kapoor, M.D.: "What this drug, Temsirolimus, does is help patients live longer."

In a recent study, patients on the drug nearly doubled their survival from six months to eleven months compared to the standard treatment, interferon.

Anil Kapoor, M.D.: "You live four or five months longer. That doesn't seem like a big deal. But when you have metastatic cancer, it means the world."

It preserves the quality of life an important health benefit. Joe has gained a healthy 45 pounds on the drug and his sister Loretta, is hopeful.

Loretta Kotska, Joe's Sister: "You don't give up and you know, as long as he's well and taken care of and whatever time we have together is incredible."

Rob's partner Paul agrees.

Paul Bonehill: "It's very significant. When you love someone, you don't want them to go."

Rob still wakes up every day fighting.

Rob Skinner: "I put my feet on the ground. If I can stand up, I say I made it."

With his spirit and his sense of humor, intact.


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