NEWS | December 26, 2019

Yuba City retiree gets a surprise cancer diagnosis

Two months later he’s cancer free and ready to ring in the New Year


Peter Lush chose UC Davis Health for his care when he didn’t find a doctor he liked in Yuba City. Today, he’s very glad he did.

Peter and Nanci Lush Peter and Nanci Lush

His story begins with a routine colonoscopy at the UC Davis Health Rocklin Clinic. The 73-year-old gets the tests every three years because of a history of benign polyps.

“During the test the doctor found that that one of the polyps was embedded in my appendix, and she ordered a CT scan to get more details,” he said. “That’s when they discovered the small masses on my bladder and my kidney.”

When Lush and his wife, Nanci, heard the news, both their jaws dropped, Lush said.

“We swallowed hard, and we thought this might be the next step on our road. We’ll take it one day at a time.”

Lush said the news was not only frightening, but surprising too. Retired from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the National Guard and the U.S. Navy, Lush said he’d been feeling great.

“I walk five miles a day, so I’m in good shape,” he said. “I quit drinking and really changed my diet. I went from weighing 195 to 177, just five pounds over what I weighed in the Navy in 1967.”

After the CT scan, Lush’s next step was a cystoscopy, a test that allows the doctor to use a special camera to examine the bladder and kidneys and do biopsies of suspicious tissue. During the procedure, urologic surgeon Marc Dall’Era also flushed the kidneys with a chemotherapy drug.

The biopsy had mostly good news; the bladder was clear, but one kidney had a low-grade carcinoma, a type of cancer that Dall’Era ablated without having to do surgery.

Lush was struck by the attention he received from the team. “In each instance, Dr. Dall’Era called me, his resident called me. And I had another call from Urologic Surgery asking how I felt,” he said. “That is really important in terms of taking care of patients and having a personal connection with them.”

The entire ordeal, he said, was made much better because of the care he received from his gastroenterologist Cecilia Terrado in Rocklin and the team at the Department of Urologic Surgery.

“Ever since we found UC Davis we felt we had a good team of doctors taking care of us,” he said. “When we did the first procedure in November the whole team just made me feel very comforted. I was being taken care of and had no fear about any of it. I felt like I was in good hands, even if the results had come out bad.”

Dall’Era saw his patient just before the holidays and gave him good news.

“He’s doing fine,” he said. “He has an excellent prognosis and no other treatment is needed.”