‘The prognosis is very good’: Gov. Murphy to undergo surgery to remove tumor from kidney

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Gov. Phil Murphy will soon undergo surgery to remove a tumor from one of his kidneys. The 62-year-old governor made the announcement on Twitter over the weekend.

"Friends – I've got a tumor on my left kidney and will undergo a partial nephrectomy in early March to remove it. The prognosis is very good and I'm profoundly grateful to my doctors for detecting the tumor early,” Murphy wrote.

The governor has been very open about his experience. He told News 12 New Jersey on Monday’s “Ask Gov. Murphy” that the diagnosis came “out of the blue.”

“My family history is not riddled with cancer. We are more on the cardiovascular side of the house,” Murphy said.

But the governor says that he is very optimistic about his treatment. A partial nephrectomy is a procedure in which a tumor is removed from the kidney without damaging or removing the organ. Murphy says he expects to have the procedure and recover at home.

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Dr. Michael Stifelman at Hackensack University Medical Center specializes in partial robotic nephrectomies. While he is not Murphy’s physician, he does know some of what the governor will be going through. Stifelman says patients with this condition undergo general anesthesia to remove the tumor.

"Often, we’re utilizing newer technology that allows us to put all of the instruments through one small incision in the belly button. Those patients go home actually the following day,” he says.

Once the tumor is removed, it will need to be examined.

“And the specifics we look at is: the grade of the tumor, how aggressive that tumor looks and what cell type it came from,” Stifelman says.

Pathologists will then look to see how deeply the tumor invaded the kidney.

Stifelman says that the procedure lasts three to five hours and that recovery is quick. Patients are typically hospitalized for only two or three days. Stifelman says most of his patients are back to work within about two weeks.

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