Kidney Cancer Patient Stories

  • Denise Coldwater

    Denise Coldwater

    Kidney Cancer

    In 1999, at the age of 45, Denise Coldwater of Enid, Oklahoma, was diagnosed with kidney cancer. At the time, her only choice was a total nephrectomy (removal of the kidney). After treatment, Denise resumed her life raising three sons and teaching school. At home, she and her husband, Mike, ran a cattle ranch. Hoping her cancer journey was in her rear view mirror, Denise was shocked in 2014 to learn she had cancer again - this time in her remaining kidney. With her life on the line, Denise began a national search for answers which ended at Fox Chase Cancer Center—1,500 miles from home.

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  • Paul Cramer

    Paul Cramer

    Paul Cramer likes to tell people that smoking saved his life, although he gave up the habit at age 26. In February 2010, Paul learned that his medical plan would cover a procedure to check for an abdominal aneurysm, for anyone who was - or had been - a smoker. Paul, who was 65 at the time and proactive about good health, opted for the test. The good news was that the results showed no aneurysm. The bad news was that doctors detected a cancerous growth on his left kidney. “It was aggressive: Stage 1 moving into Stage 2,” recalls Paul, who had no symptoms to speak of. After meeting with a local surgeon, Paul decided to seek a second opinion. 

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  • Mary Crowther

    Mary Crowther

    Kidney Cancer

    It was Christmas Eve, 2014, and Mary Crowther, a loving wife, mother and grandmother, was enjoying the holidays with her family.  Later that evening, she experienced a sudden onset of hematuria (blood in her urine) progressing to vomiting and flank pain. This resulted in a trip to the emergency room early Christmas morning. She spent eight days in a community hospital, most of it in the ICU due to right kidney failure and sepsis. Several rounds of tests indicated that Mary had stage 3 kidney cancer.

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  • Shirley Danner

    Shirley Danner

    Forty-five days. That's how long it took from the moment in February 2011 that Shirley Danner, who was 73, felt a lump on her side when she rolled over in bed to the day her cancerous kidney was removed at Fox Chase Cancer Center. "It all happened so fast," said Shirley, who lives in Willow Street, Pennsylvania, about two hours from the Fox Chase campus.

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  • Louis Della Penna

    Louis Della Penna

    The burden of cancer is one that Louis Della Penna knows all too well. In 1994, Louis came to Fox Chase with concerns about a chronic sore throat. He met with Dr. John "Drew" Ridge, chief of head and neck surgery. Dr. Ridge determined that his sore throat was caused by acid reflux. Fortunately for Louis, Dr. Ridge did not stop his examination there.

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