Survivor glad tumor board took his case |

Survivor glad tumor board took his case

Last week, The Union described the work of the Tumor Board, a group of doctors, nurses, social workers and hospice workers that offer their insights into treatment options for cancer patients. This follow-up story shows how the Tumor Board affected the life of one cancer survivor.

The Tumor Board at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital does not use names when discussing patients. But one cancer survivor who thinks the board helped crack his case was more than willing to go public.

Denis Kutch, 71, of Nevada City, was diagnosed in the summer of 2004 with cancer in his head and neck that he believes was caused by smoking.

“They never found the primary site. There was no tumor,” Kutch said. “They think it was at the base of my tongue and they weren’t sure, so that’s one of the reasons I got involved with the tumor board.”

Kutch didn’t attend any sessions of the board, but three doctors who did attend found his cancer and came up with an aggressive chemotherapy treatment to stop it.

“It didn’t cost me anything,” Kutch said. “It allowed other doctors not involved in my case to give their input.

“The biggest advantage was to get the doctors working as a team,” said the still-practicing architect. “I see the board as just part of the overall treatment,” he received at the hospital’s Cancer Center.

“My significant other (Jane Milner), who is my caregiver, is a nurse in the surgery unit,” Kutch said. “Between her and the tumor board, they saved my life.”


To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail or call 477-4237.

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