Kidney survivors celebrate on World Kidney Day

PATIENTS met the hospital staff who helped them survive kidney cancer at a special event arranged on World Cancer Day.

At least eight patients who had life-saving nephrectomies (kidney removal) visited the education centre at Basildon University Hospital to meet staff from urology, oncology and surgical services and share their stories.

All of the patients had been operated on by Mr Ramachandran Ravi, who arranged the event as a thank you to staff, including doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals and admin and clerical roles.

Mr Ravi said: “It is not the surgeon alone. There is a big team of people behind every successful procedure, behind every one of your surgeries. These are the people who make sure you are taken care of before, during and after. This is a great opportunity for us to hear your positive experiences so we can strive to replicate them, but also to learn about things we could do better and ways we can improve.”

Kidney cancer is the 8th most common cancer, with just over 10,000 cases diagnosed in the UK each year. As in all cancers, early detection and intervention highly increases the survival rate.

Steven Torode, 59, from Basildon, was operated on by Mr Ravi in October 2013. He said he went to A&E when he couldn’t get over what he thought was a serious virus. It was then he was told he had a ‘shadow’ on his kidney and would need to be admitted for surgery.

He added: “I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of a major operation and not knowing who would be performing the surgery so I discharged myself, against medical advice. I wrote a letter to Mr Ravi and he made me an appointment. Once he had gone through everything with me I realised I was in very safe hands.

“His tremendous communication skills were so important to me at such a stressful time. I also had the most marvellous anaesthetist, Mr Venkat Shenoy, who was so good to me as I was fearful about being put to sleep. I am also grateful to urology nurse specialist Augusta Aikhionbare, who allowed me to call her more than once before the operation and was so patient with me.”

Mr Torode had keyhole surgery to remove the entire right kidney which had the tumour. Scans showed he didn’t need follow up treatment. He added: “I couldn’t have had better care if I had gone private. I’m so lucky it was operable. My operation was 100% keyhole so I was able to keep working. I am deeply thankful to Mr Ravi and to his friendly, professional and caring team.”

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