"I fell to the ground; I thought I had pulled a muscle," the Denton resident said.
It appeared to be no more than a simple strain until a few days later when Mr. Enfinger saw blood in his urine. After visiting several specialists, Mr. Enfinger was referred to Dr. Arthur Sagalowsky, professor of urology and surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Sagalowsky diagnosed Mr. Enfinger with renal cell carcinoma.
Cancers of the kidney and renal pelvis are the 12th leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Mr. Enfinger had a rare complication, however. His tumor had a large clot growing out of the renal vein up the vena cava and into his heart.
Mr. Enfinger underwent a complex surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center combining the skills of cardiovascular surgeons in the Heart, Lung and Vascular Clinical Center and renal surgeons in the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center to remove his right kidney, affected lymph nodes and most of the massive tumor that had grown into the vena cava, the largest vein in the body. His case, along with 45 others, was examined for a review of patient outcomes in a study appearing in the June issue of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.
Surgeons at UT Southwestern have taken a team approach involving urology, cardiothoracic surgery, interventional radiology and medical oncology to treat patients with this rare and complex type of kidney tumor and have recorded some of the most successful patient outcomes nationally.
"We now have experience as a group of doctors taking care of these high-risk surgical patients with terrific success rates compared with other clinics that perform similar surgeries," said Dr. Michael DiMaio, associate professor of cardiovascular