Thomas Malloy

Kidney Cancer Patient Stories

Kidney Cancer
Thomas Malloy

Thomas Malloy and his wife, Margaret.

The way Margaret Malloy sees it, her husband Tom wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for Alexander Kutikov, MD, an oncologic surgeon who specializes in treating patients with kidney cancer using minimally invasive techniques whenever possible.

In October 2010, Tom, who was 80 but in otherwise excellent health, was having stomach pains. His doctor ordered tests that revealed a tumor on his right kidney that didn't seem to present an immediate problem. “The local urologist was monitoring the tumor with periodic testing, but we felt we weren’t getting clear answers,” recalled Margaret. Then, in April 2012, an MRI showed that the tumor was growing quickly.  The couple was referred to Dr. Kutikov at Fox Chase Cancer Center, not far from their home in Northeast Philadelphia.

"Dr. Kutikov explained everything and reassured us."

Along with their son Dr. Phillip Malloy, a doctor of physical therapy, the couple sat in Dr. Kutikov’s office and listened as he carefully explained all of Tom's options. “Dr. Kutikov explained everything and reassured us that he would do everything possible to take care of the problem.” Dr. Kutikov communicated that decision-making in older patients is extremely complex and first performed a biopsy in mid-April which came back malignant (cancerous). Because of rapid tumor growth, worrisome findings on biopsy, and Tom’s otherwise excellent health, surgery was recommended.  Given that Tom’s overall kidney function was imperfect, Dr. Kutikov explained that he would save the kidney to preserve its function and allow Tom to maintain his quality of life.  

Thomas Malloy

Thomas Malloy loves being a great-grandfather.

“Using an iPad, Dr. Kutikov showed us how a partial nephrectomy could be done laparoscopically using a robot,” said Margaret. The team at Fox Chase has performed hundreds of robotic partial nephrectomies, a minimally invasive procedure to remove the tumor and a portion of the kidney, leaving normal kidney tissue behind. Often, Dr. Kutikov will operate on patients who were told they were not candidates for laparoscopic surgery at other centers, employing novel techniques such as retroperitoneoscopic surgery.  The benefits of this kidney-sparing procedure include less pain and scarring and faster recovery time.

Tom’s surgery was scheduled for June 8, 2012. Tom had gone through a gangrenous gall bladder operation a year prior, with many complications. The idea of having to reopen the old incision was more than he and Margaret could bear. “We thank the dear God that Dr. Kutikov was able to do the surgery robotically,” said Margaret.  “He even called us three times from the operating room to tell us how things were going.” Tom was in the hospital just four days, and recovered quickly from the operation.  “The nurses and the entire staff were just amazing and so helpful,” said Margaret.

Tom's son, Philip, shared that he was extremely impressed from his initial visit with Dr. Kutikov that he did not want to take an aggressive approach to care until he had all objective data available. "Dr. Kutikov was compassionate and caring in his approach with my parents," said Philip. "We were so fortunate to come to Fox Chase. I truly believe that God directed us to Dr. Kutikov and we will always keep him in our prayers so that he may continue to help others with his incredible skills."

"Dr. Kutikov saved my husband’s life, that’s all there is to it."

“Dr. Kutikov saved my husband’s life, that’s all there is to it,” said Margaret, who, because of her husband’s profound hearing loss, is always by his side. “Dr. Kutikov is a blessing,” she said.  “For a surgeon, Dr. Kutikov is not only extremely professional, but he’s kind and compassionate. I just can’t say enough about him. Tom is back to me, cutting the grass and driving. He’s his old self again. Getting the right doctor and the best hospital makes all the difference.”