For George Ligon--an active 58-year old who loves the outdoors and has
big travel plans once he and his wife
retire from teaching--learning he had
cancer was devastating.
Now given a clean bill of health, Mr. Ligon
is setting his sights on pursuing new
"It rocked me back on my heels,"
explained Mr. Ligon, who was diagnosed with a kidney tumor last summer.
"I was in the process of getting my normal back-to-school checkups done when
my doctor noticed a suspicious mass in
An X-ray and CT scan confirmed
the existence of a cancerous tumor,
and Mr. Ligon was told he needed
surgery. Referred to Robert A.
Edelman, MD, an attending urologist
at Winthrop-University Hospital, Mr.
Ligon was offered three options:
laparoscopic surgery, right radical
nephrectomy or renal cryoablation.
Mr. Ligon was a candidate for
cryoablation, which he elected.
Renal cryoablation, an alternative
for traditional and partial kidney
removal for select patients, involves
repeatedly freezing and destroying
small cancerous kidney tumors. During
the procedure, which is often performed laparoscopically, small needles
are inserted into the kidney tumor. The
needle tips are cooled and only the
malignant cells are killed. Following
the two-hour procedure, the patient
remains hospitalized for an average of
two days for monitoring.
"Renal cryoablation not only preserves the kidney, but decreases the
chances of internal bleeding," explained
Dr. Edelman. "And, while it's a newer
technique, it doesn't compromise cure
rate. Mr. Ligon's chance for recovery
stood at 85 percent because the mass
was caught early."
Mr. Ligon wanted a less-invasive
procedure. "Dr. Edelman even assured
me that the incision would not damage
my stomach muscles because he knew
I wanted to remain physically active,"
"I felt very comfortable and confident in his hands. He was very honest
when he told me that he felt the
tumor was 70 percent cancerous, but
that cryoablation would kill the malignant tissue."
"The procedure is 'very clean and
clear' in that it leaves behind no debris,"
explained Dr. Edelman. "Overall, it is a
better way of treating localized renal
cancer because it prevents growth while
saving the kidney."
Today, four months after his procedure, Mr. Ligon is well and back to
working out at the gym three-to-four
times a week. He credits his clean
bill of health to keeping up with his
"Even if you are in perfect health,
visit your doctor because if anything
is going on, you need to find out as
soon as possible," he advises. "Then,
be sure to ask questions. Don't be
afraid to research your options and
get a sense of feeling comfortable
with your doctor and the procedure."
Dr. Edelman has advised Mr. Ligon
to return for a follow-up in the next six
months. Now, all he needs to worry
about is getting back to the classroom
and planning his next adventure.
For more information about the
procedure, call (516)742-3200 ext.
103 or 104.