Joe Conwell

First post: Jul 7, 2017
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place regarding Joe's kidney cancer diagnosis.  We thought we'd start with the beginning.  It is a complicated and extensive story but we will try to "net it out."  After feeling poorly for several weeks Joe had a CAT scan in late January that revealed a grapefruit size tumor on his right kidney.  After doing much research and consulting with different surgeons Joe had a surgery called a radical nephrectomy to remove the tumor and his right kidney on 2/7/17 at Penn ( Dr. Tom Guzzo ).  As he was on the road to recovery, we anxiously awaited the pathology report.  Unfortunately it was not good news.  Penn diagnosed Joe with Sarcomatoid Renal Cell Carcinoma.  It is a very rare and aggressive form of kidney cancer that is associated with a poor prognosis.  We had a follow up appointment  a month later with an oncologist at Penn, Dr. Naomi Haas, and found out that the kidney cancer had metastasized into his right lung and he would need treatment. Penn and Fox Chase both recommended that Joe's best and only option was to try to get into a clinical trial for a new immunotherapy drug.  Now we had to look into different clinical trials  that would accept his sarcomatoid features.  Both Penn and Fox Chase recommended a clinical trial that Fox Chase was running. Neither hospital recommended a biopsy of the tumor on the lung and did not recommend removal of the tumor.  We were not completely satisfied so we took the trip to Sloan Kettering in New York.  Thankfully, Thoracic surgeon, Dr. David Jones, and the oncologist, Dr. Chung-Han Lee strongly recommended removal of the tumor as an alternative of treatment with drugs.  We agreed, so on 4/5/17, Joe endured another surgery and the tumor was successfully removed along with a piece of his lung. Joe had several scans 3 weeks later. On 4/27/17, Joe was declared to be "NED" no evidence of disease. While that was very good news, the doctors did remind us that the type of cancer Joe has is very aggressive and rare and that his journey is probably not over. So, we set up this communication tool to keep you all posted of upcoming scans etc... He has had an amazing recovery from these 2 surgeries. He has an incredible attitude and a strong faith. He really has been a trooper. Tomorrow is a big day. July 6th we find out the results of the next set of scans. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. We love you! xoxo

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