Why I’m fighting for renal medullary carcinoma patients

As I entered the fall of 2016, I found myself excited about my brother Herman’s cancer-free status. He had returned from MD Anderson at the end of August with continued good news: clear scans. Four years ago, he was diagnosed with renal medullary carcinoma, an extremely rare type of kidney cancer with a poor prognosis. Herman’s been cancer-free for the last two years. Many people are shocked when they hear Herman is still surviving. When you read the statistics, he shouldn’t be here. But as I’ve learned, despite your diagnosis, there’s always hope beyond what you see.   Don’t be afraid to reach out  When Herman was diagnosed with renal medullary carcinoma in 2012, our family couldn’t see a way out. All of the odds seemed stacked against us. To have a center of excellence like MD Anderson accept us was such a blessing. Herman’s story brings hope to everyone who has been diagnosed with renal medullary carcinoma. However, the statistics are still sobering, and currently there is no cure for renal medullary carcinoma. All of the survivors I meet are desperate for a doctor who is familiar with treating this disease. I feel lucky that we found Nazir Tannir, M.D., Herman’s MD Anderson oncologist, who is one of the world’s leaders in treating renal medullary carcinoma. Building hope through advocacy In 2013, I established a foundation dedicated to renal medullary carcinoma to raise awareness and educate others. I care about educating families because I know how important early detection is. I never thought that we would grow as much as we have over the past three years. We...