Bladder Cancer Found On Routine Test. He Chooses Radical Surgery.

Print icon

Feeling “great” and not eager to carve out time for his annual physical in 2017, Paul Mikkelson almost didn’t make an appointment.

Luckily, he did.

The urine sample he gave as part of the routine testing revealed traces of blood. A second sample taken at a later appointment with his urologist also found blood, and a procedure called a bladder cystoscopy then discovered two cancerous tumors causing the trouble.

“I had absolutely no symptoms,” the 64-year-old Simsbury resident said. “My primary care doctor thought maybe I was just dehydrated because I ride the bike so much.”

Pathology reports on the tumors that were scraped from his bladder revealed an aggressive form of cancer and the need for further action. The self-proclaimed “analytical” sort was left to decide between a second attempt to scrape all traces of the disease out of the organ to save it and surgery to remove the bladder completely.

He sought expert opinions in New York and Boston. He set up a consultation with Dr. Anoop Meraney, director of urologic oncology with the Hartford HealthCare Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute. Input was varied, but he eventually opted for the more radical option of surgery.

“I was quite impressed with Dr. Meraney,” Mikkelson says. “He answered every question I had, in the order in which I’d written them down. Then he said, ‘Whether I do it or not, you need to get this bladder out. He’s also analytical and super intelligent.”

In June 2017, Dr. Meraney removed his bladder and left an external ostomy bag in its place to collect urine. The father of two adult children said it was a “wonderful experience” overall.

“I feel like I’m healthier today than I was before the surgery,” Mikkelson says. “He took out my prostate too, so I don’t get up at night to go to the bathroom. I’m finally getting a good night’s sleep, which helps with healing. I’m back to everything I love doing — I ride the bike 50 to 60 miles at a time, I go skiing and golfing.”

For more information about treatment of bladder cancer at Hartford HealthCare’s Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute, click here.


What's New

Prostate Cancer Relationships

ED, Incontinence After Prostate Surgery: What Can a Partner Do?

This is the first of a two-part series on the effects of prostate cancer on relationships. Ask any prostate cancer survivor and he’ll tell you there’s no price he wouldn’t pay to be cancer-free. Let’s start with the surest way to cure prostate cancer when the disease hasn’t spread: Removal...

Prostate Cancer and Relationships

How to Handle the Emotions of a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

This is the second installment of a two-part series on the effects of prostate cancer on relationships. Now that you’ve just been told you have prostate cancer, your urologist can explain every possible way the disease affects the body and what you can do about it. But psychologically, you’re on...

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Lung Cancer Surgery: A Closer Look

Surgery to remove a lobe of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s lung just before Christmas brought worldwide attention to a disease that is on the rise in the United States. While it’s not known if the 85-year-old justice, who does not have a history of smoking, had lung cancer...

Cancer Survivorship Plan

What Is a Cancer Survivorship Care Plan?

By Deborah Walker, APRN Over a decade ago, the Institute of Medicine recommended every cancer patient receive an individual survivorship care plan that includes guidelines for monitoring and maintaining their health. This recommendation was developed from a prominent report, “From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition,” which focused...

Cancer Survivorship

A Fresh Look at the Survivorship Phase of Endometrial Cancer

By Maureen Bracco, APRN, and Dr. Jonathan A. Cosin Endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs in the United States.  For 2018, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be about 63,230 new cases of endometrial cancer diagnosed and about 11,350 women will die from this...


Feeling Like Her Old Self After Removal Of Cancerous Bladder

There’s little worse than feeling ill and getting no answers or having scant options for improvement. “I was being treated, but the symptoms were getting worse,” recalled Jane Feldman, a 62-year-old retiree from Avon about early care for her bladder cancer. “There was increasing amounts of blood in my urine...

Lung Cancer Screening

Lung Cancer Study Leads to New Screening Program

Following national research data demonstrating substantial improvements in lung cancer mortality, Hartford HealthCare  researchers completed their own study exploring the feasibility of lung cancer screening in Connecticut. In a landmark study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, researchers with the National Lung Screening Trial screened more than 53,000 current or former...