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Cancer Genetics

Cancer Prevention and Genetics

01/29/2004

Question:

My sister was born with 3 kidneys and she has been told that she has cancer in two of them, she has a 9mm mass on one side and a 5mm mass on the other side. I'm not really sure what my question is except what are the odds that the two kidneys on the one side are two separate functioning kidneys she has been told odds are that she will lose the two with the masses in them.

Answer:

The title of your question suggests that your sister`s cancers are not the only cancers in the family. I am not able to really determine what the other cancers are in your family, or the age at which your sister was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

It sounds like you would like to talk with someone about this but aren't quite sure where to start, or who to get in touch with. I think it might be helpful if you talked with your primary care physician to find out whether there are any genetic centers in your area that could help you with some of your concerns. Alternatively, you could go to the website for the National Society of Genetic Counselors, and see if there is a cancer genetic counselor near where you live. This might help you figure out what information will be helpful in determining what might be going on in your family. The website for the National Society of Genetic Counselors is: http://www.nsgc.org/.

If you wish to submit another question, with more information about the cancers in your family, the ages at which they were diagnosed, and how these people are related to you, I might be able to point you in more appropriate directions.

As for whether the two kidneys on one side are functioning kidneys, I think your sister`s doctor would be able to determine this before surgery is performed to remove the kidneys with the masses. Thanks for your question.

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Response by:

Duane D Culler, PhD, MS Duane D Culler, PhD, MS
Clinical Instructor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University