We made sure kidney cancer didn't take Sue's life.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Sue Bruno never met a challenge she couldn’t overcome. As a wife, mother of adult twin daughters, and the managing director of a large local business, Sue was the glue that held her family and workplace together.
Then doctors discovered a large tumor in her kidney. Since Sue was born with only one functional kidney, kidney cancer was an extremely dire diagnosis. She was told by several area hospitals that having the organ removed — and spending the rest of her life on dialysis — offered her the best chance of survival. But for a woman as active as Sue, dialysis was unthinkable. So she went to Memorial Sloan Kettering for a second opinion.
- Sue Bruno, a wife, mother, business manager, and New Jersey native, was born with only one functional kidney.
- When doctors discovered a malignancy in her healthy kidney, they recommended removing the entire organ. This would have meant a lifetime on dialysis and a reduced ability to fight off any further cancers. Sue decided to seek a second opinion at MSK.
- At MSK, Sue’s surgeon, Jonathan Coleman, was able to spare her one working kidney with an innovative surgical procedure.
- After a recurrence of cancer in her lung several months later, Sue participated in a clinical trial that used immunotherapy to fight the cancer.
At MSK, medical oncologist Darren Feldman and urologic surgeon Jonathan Coleman knew there was a better option. Dr. Coleman was able to use a minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove her tumor while saving her kidney. After the cancer returned in her lungs several months later, Sue was offered immunotherapy, a treatment that empowers the patient’s own immune system to fight off the cancer, which she received as part of a clinical trial. Participating in the trial would never have been possible if she didn’t have a working kidney.
Amazingly, Sue experienced almost no side effects from the immunotherapy and never stopped working during her treatment. Instead of lying in a dialysis bed, Sue was dancing at her daughter’s wedding and was there to witness the birth of her first grandchild.
Today, Sue’s cancer is no longer detectable. She exercises daily and works with a nutritionist at MSK, and feels the way she did years ago. Thanks to her doctors’ hard work and her own resilience, not even cancer could slow Sue down.