Man goes to doctor with big toe pain and discovers terminal cancer: ‘I had four days to live’

From a pain in the big toe to a cancer in the terminal stage. That’s what Richard Bernstein lived, a 62-year-old man from New Jersey, in the United States. In an interview with the New York Post, published last Tuesday (14), the retiree said that he began to feel pain in the area five years ago.

On a visit to the podiatrist, the possibility that he had broken a bone was ruled out. “I thought I had fractured my toe but the doctor couldn’t find anything wrong”, Richard told the newspaper. Two years later, the pain reached her ankle. He then saw a sports medicine doctor, who thought the patient had a condition called stenosis — a narrowing of the spaces within the spine that is usually treated with physical therapy.

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Richard’s scan showing the kidney cancer on the right and the thrombus on the left. (Photo: Northwell Health Hospital/NY Post)

Foot and ankle pain continued, slightly affecting his mobility. Then, in March 2022, his right leg swelled up completely. He went to his GP, who did an abdominal scan during the exams. The doctor immediately sent him to see specialist Dr. Michael Grasso, Director of Urology at Phelps Hospital, who broke the troubling news. “He told me I had four days to live”recalled Bernstein.

The examination showed that the man had a large tumor in his kidney and a tumor thrombus (blood clot). The latter grew through the renal vein and filled the vena cava, which is the main vessel that drains blood to the heart. In addition, two of Richard’s main coronary arteries were 99% blocked, and his liver was failing because the cancer had been obstructing the organ’s function. “He was walking a tightrope”said the doctor.

According to Grasso, the blockage of veins due to the tumor and the thrombus was what explained the retiree’s foot pain, since the symptoms of liver cancer usually appear at an advanced stage of the tumor.

Three doctors performed the emergency surgery which took nearly 12 hours in duration. In addition to Grasso, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Jonathan Hemli and vascular surgeon Alfio Carroccio. The tumor and tumor thrombus measured about 30 centimeters in length and weighed almost 1.2 kg. “If my whole leg hadn’t swelled, I would have dropped dead”said Bernstein.

Bernstein’s kidney, tumor and tumor thrombus removed. (Photo: Northwell Health Hospital/NY Post)

After the tumor was removed, doctors ruled out, for now, the need for chemotherapy in Richard, who is already walking alone and recovering from the surgery — he has lost about 30 kg in the process. “My advice is that no one gives up on seeking a diagnosis if something bothers you. Trust your instinct”declared the gentleman.

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She's our PC girl, so anything is up to her. She is also responsible for the videos of Play Crazy Game, as well as giving a leg in the news.

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