Kidney cancer survivor reacts to Sen. Mazie Hirono's diagnosis
HONOLULU - Sen. Mazie Hirono (D- Hawaii) has surgery scheduled to remove her right kidney Wednesday.
Her diagnosis, brings back memories for Romano Imamura. Imamura was diagnosed with stage three kidney cancer in December.
"It was like a shock, I didn't know what to expect, what was going on, what brought it on or anything," said Imamura.
His doctor told him to act fast.
"He scheduled a surgery pretty quickly, because the quicker you get in there and remove it, the better it is," said Imamura.
By early January, Imamura underwent surgery. He spent three days at Queen's Medical Center, after doctors removed the cancerous tumor.
"Kidney cancer is one of those rare cancers that removal or treating the primary tumor makes a huge difference in the success of future treatments," said Dr. Clayton Chong.
Dr. Chong is the Chief of the Oncology Department at Queen's Medical Center.
"Kidney cancers are aggressive cancers, once they're spreading they can spread fairly quickly," said Dr. Chong.
Early detection is key. According to American Cancer Society, stage one kidney cancer patients have an 85% survival rate. Stage two patients have a 74% chance of survival. Stage three patients like Imamura have a 53-percent chance of beating cancer.
"I'm doing great now, I'm fully recovered, and back to work," said Imamura.
About a month after surgery, Imamura could celebrate his birthday with friends. Five months later, he's cancer free.
"I don't take anything for granted now," said Imamura.
As she prepares to beat cancer, Sen. Hirono said in a statement-- "I face this fight with the same determination I've fought for the people of Hawaii. And I never quit, especially when things get tough."