My mother's appointment with the urologist was this afternoon. The doctor was a young Egyptian, very knowledgeable with an outstanding manner. He delivered all the information in an understandable manner and waited for our decision. He did not rush nor did he try to persuade.
The information was all what we already knew and/or suspected. On the basis of two very clear CT Scans he is confident mother has clear cell renal cancer. It is a hard mass clearly distinguishable from the other cysts they found on her kidneys and which he says we all have.
Only a biopsy would give definitive results but he advises against the biopsy because of complications for my mother and for fear of spreading the cancer.
He has taken all the reports into consideration and has said my mother would have a very poor chance of surviving the operation to remove the tumor or her kidney.
The tumor is small, one inch in size, and has probably been growing for years. Most of these are discovered by accident, he said. They grow at a rate of between 1 and 3 mm a year.
What I had read online and had learned from my brother-in-law (a doctor) and from my nephew's wife (an internal medicine resident) was exactly what he said. The five year survival rate for the elderly with small tumors is better with "watch and wait" then with surgery.
With my mother's health, her dementia, her thyroid issues, her frailty and heart arrhythmia, and especially her COPD her chances of living another 5 years are extremely small anyway.
He wanted us to know, however, that if we decided on 'watch and wait' there was no turning back. If the cancer suddenly accelerated or metastasized they would deal with the issues as they came up but there would be no future attempt at an operation. They would deal with any pain. They might try to shrink spreading cancers with radiation but ...
There was no other decision to be made. Let's face it. The next bought with pneumonia will take her. Not eating will take her. I doubt she lives long enough for the cancer to kill her but even if she does the only alternative is an operation now she has little chance of surviving.
So that is that.