In 2016, 35 year-old Henry Cullen*, already being treated for hypertension, discovered blood in his urine. After consulting his specialist physician, Henry underwent a CT scan, an MRI scan, pathology tests and a fine needle biopsy of his right kidney. He was subsequently diagnosed with malignant carcinoma – a cancerous tumour on his right kidney. The proposed treatment plan was the surgical removal of the entire kidney, followed by several months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Henry remembered that his health insurance plan included the Medical Second Opinion service and he decided to undertake a review of his diagnosis. With Mediguide’s assistance, Henry selected Cleveland Clinic in Ohio to undertake the diagnosis review and in co-operation with his physicians and other medical providers, Mediguide collated his complete medical records and securely uploaded these to Dr Novick’s specialist urology team at Cleveland Clinic.
Dr Novick and his team undertook the diagnosis review by reassessing the CT and MRI scans, the pathology reports, the needle biopsy results and his general medical file and then compared these against their substantial experience and extensive clinical database. After completing this comprehensive review and database comparison, Dr Novick and his team concluded that the tumour was very unlikely to be malignant, with a 90%+ probability that it was benign. This was based on the outcome of ±1,600 other clinically similar cases in Cleveland Clinic’s database that they had successfully reviewed.
Henry’s new treatment plan, proposed by Dr Novick and his team, was to target removal of the tumour rather than the whole kidney. Since the tumour was growing on the kidney, this revised treatment plan still required a partial excision of approximately half the kidney but it had the distinct advantage of preserving the unaffected half.
Henry proceeded with the less radical surgery and the subsequent diagnostic tests showed that the tumour was indeed benign. He was hugely relieved. Not only did Henry not have cancer – which would have required months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment – he retained the unaffected half of his kidney which was still functioning normally.
The clinical outcome for Henry was significantly improved! Had he proceeded with the original treatment, not only would he have unnecessarily lost his entire kidney, he would then also have had to deal with far more complex management of his ongoing hypertension.
* – a pseudonym was used to protect the patient’s identity.