Patient Care

Nile Rodgers

Dec. 27, 2017
Kidney Cancer

When Nile Rodgers learned in August 2017 that he might be facing a second cancer, he was surprised but less nervous than when he went through treatment for prostate cancer seven years before. He was also more relaxed, analytical and calm.

“I was surrounded by professionalism and empathy, which gave me a surprising sense of inner peace,” he said.

A team of doctors at Strong Memorial Hospital found the growth on his kidney at an early stage. They identified it while treating him for E. coli that he’d picked up from tainted food.

He’d been having fevers and tremors and thought he might have a bacterial infection. After visiting a few different hospitals to figure out what was going on, his attorney recommended Strong. Nile, a multiple Grammy-winning musician and producer, had rerouted from the tour and went to Rochester, while his band, CHIC, touring with Earth, Wind and Fire, continued on to their concert destination in Canada. Nile’s doctor insisted he stay at Strong to receive an IV drip for two days and miss his scheduled show in Toronto.

With the news of the growth on his kidney, Nile faced a choice: Watchful waiting or surgery.

Nile chose surgery. He had been so impressed by the care he received at Strong during the summer that he decided to return to Strong for the procedure later in the year.

Recovery would require at least six weeks of rest, so he waited until his schedule had a little more flexibility. On Nov. 3, urologist Hani Rashid, M.D., performed the surgery to remove the growth from Nile’s kidney. Once it was out, doctors determined it was cancerous and had mixed features of two different types of kidney cancer. Luckily, this didn’t impact his course of treatment.

“My experience there was so amazing,” he says. “(They) treated me with so much class and dignity and it was just such a wonderful experience.”

More than six weeks out from surgery, Nile is still healing but says he feels much better. He announced the news with a video on his blog, which also chronicles his previous cancer diagnosis. He’s getting ready to perform in London on New Year’s Eve and feels much gratitude.  

“I’m grateful for the people that I met, I’m grateful for the care that I got, but at the end of the day I guess if you were putting on a tier system, is the fact that I’m alive,” he says. “Had I not found this, who knows what could’ve happened.”