• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Mountain biker leaves cancer worries on the trail

May 20, 2018

Clinic for a kidney tumor he believed to be cancer. To his great relief, Joel’s care team found he didn't have cancer after all. Here Joel shares his Mayo Clinic experience in his own words.


Written by Joel Pankow

"This is very unlikely to threaten how long you live or your quality of life. This is the mantra I want you to tell yourself when you lie awake at night."

These words echoed through my mind on the plane as I traveled back from Rochester, Minnesota, to Denver in late 2016. They allowed me to thoroughly rest for the first time in over a month. Just six weeks prior, I had been told there was a tumor on my kidney — likely to be renal cell carcinoma.

Like many kidney tumors, mine was discovered incidentally. The tumor was found following a mountain bike accident that resulted in a foot injury. I had gotten into mountain bike riding in our community in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to improve my physical and mental health. During recovery from my foot injury, I found myself having to urinate frequently at night. My urologist ordered an abdominal ultrasound and an MRI, which showed a 1-inch tumor on my right kidney. With a family history of cancer in general, I was naturally very anxious. Several Denver doctors even suggested complete kidney removal.  Read the rest of Joel's story.
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This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.

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