Michael Kasper’s Personal Story

by Staff on November 16, 2010

My name is Michael Kasper and I live in Eastern Pennsylvania with my wife and two teenage sons. Prior to my diagnosis at age 58 I had no medical issues, never smoked, not overweight, never having been hospitalized, nor exposure to suspect chemicals. After my annual physicals each year, I would walk out of the doctor’s office with a “big head” with the news of another great physical. Given the fact that my dad passed away at 91 and my mother lived to be 100; I assumed myself “untouchable”.

Approximately 8 months before my diagnosis I felt a “lump” on my left side, I went to my doctor for his opinion. (I should add that I had no pain, no passing of blood or any other signs.) He typically is very pro active regarding certain symptoms, however he believed this mass was a lypoma, a mass of fatty tissue. Nonetheless, he suggested consulting with a surgeon, who upon examining my side agreed with my general practitioner’s assumption. In retrospect, no diagnostic tools were used, such as a CT scan, etc. Of course, they told me what I wanted to hear, that it was nothing to be concerned about.

After a couple of months I realized that this “thing” would not go away by itself; I returned to the GP’s office, he asked if “I wanted it out”, and reluctantly I said yes. I went back to the surgeon and he seemed a bit more concerned and ordered a CT scan. The day after the scan he called and told me he saw “something that concerned him” and suggested coming into the office the following day. That’s when the proverbial other shoe dropped. The scan showed the mass on my side and also a mass on my left kidney! He told me he suspected that it was kidney cancer and the mass on my side was metastasized from the original site, meaning stage IV cancer. We all know the feelings that flood your mind! Fortunately my wife was with me to help with the news.

The surgeon suggested that since the tumor was attached to my chest cavity wall, he thought a thoracic surgeon would be the best one for the removal. He recommended a surgeon at Fox Chase Cancer Hospital in Philadelphia. (I have incredible esteem for the original surgeon, since he recognized the limits of his talents and suggested another doctor.)

A thoracic surgeon removed the mass on my chest cavity wall and then a kidney surgeon removed the mass on the kidney. I knew nothing of kidney cancer and thought all cancers were the same. I assumed radiation and chemotherapy were to follow surgery! Much too my amazement, I was told there was no effective treatment for kidney cancer; and there was only one FDA approved drug, the highly toxic Interleukin-2, which has a very limited success record. Since the margins from the surgery were clear, further treatment was not recommended. Being skeptical of this information, we consulted two other kidney cancer specialists and they confirmed the initial news.

I will never have the confidence to say I am cancer free, since kidney cancer can recur at any time. Nonetheless, I am extremely blessed that God has allowed me a NED (no evidence of disease) status.

Since kidney cancer is often called the silent killer, we desperately need “tests” to help determine early diagnosis. As equally important we need research to help find cures for this consuming disease. One last point, I have learned that we must be our own advocate and continually pursue all issues in determining our necessary treatments. As in my situation, had I left the chest cavity wall mass go without treatment — I suppose I would not be writing this little story.

Best wishes to all, and praying for a cure to this dreadful disease!

4 Responses to “Michael Kasper’s Personal Story”

  1. March 27, 2011 at 7:50 pm, BARBARA said:



    • March 27, 2011 at 11:24 pm, Pete & Angie Bruno said:

      Barbara- We pray for your brother Michael’s full recovery.We know from experience miracles happen. We know you all have faith.

      All our love!


  2. March 28, 2011 at 6:52 pm, Jean Ann said:

    I think with the longevity of the people in the Kasper family we are all thrown a bit of a curve when we find that we actually have something wrong with us. As you said, we feel pretty untouchable. I always tell people I’ve not had 10 headaches in 71 years, and not “sick in bed” but once that I can remember. For those great genes that I was given, I am truly thankful. Now..be that as it may, I’m thankful for your recovery, and I understand that you still feel ‘day to day’ about it. But we’ll make it just fine, and we can thank all those people who made us possible:)
    Love you,
    Jean Ann


  3. June 03, 2011 at 8:49 pm, Victoria said:

    Not sure what kinds of Kidney Doctors you received your information from, but there have been radical changes in the treatment of Renal Cell Carcinoma (if that is what you had) and doing nothing, especially since you apparently had it in 2 locations, is ludicrous! You should immediately find a Nurologic Oncologist who specializes in Cancers of the Kidneys.

    Interleukin-2 is not even a first line of offense against this Cancer and hasn’t been for some time. When my husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Renal Cell Cancer in February of 2009, the first line treatment was a new Targeted treatment called Sutent. You take one 50mg pill a day for 28 days and off for 14 days.

    After having the 10 lb tumor and his right kidney removed, he went through 10 rounds of treatment, with Sutent, to deal with the 14 tumors he had throughout his lungs. Today there are zero tumors remaining in his lungs.

    Please do more research…the Internet has a wealth of information (kidneycancer.org is one of them). A simple Google Search for treatment of the type of Cancer you had will give you a ton of reliable information. I’d be very surprised to discover that with all of the breakthroughs they’ve had in the last 4 plus years in this field, there is still no effective treatment!


Leave a Reply