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Renal cancer survivor finds healing through faith: ‘Cancer is not the end of your story’
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Renal cancer survivor finds healing through faith: ‘Cancer is not the end of your story’

By Staff reports on July 9, 2024

Tania Burgess, 46, woke up one morning in August 2023 and sensed something wasn’t quite right. After experiencing intense pain and making two hospital trips to examine the problem, doctors confirmed her biggest fear.

Her mother and her husband’s father both died of cancer, so the news did not come easy. 

“I looked over at my husband, and the fear in his eyes was more than the fear in my own,” said Burgess, of Spartanburg. “Cancer is like an emotional beast in our lives.”

Burgess said her faith in God settled her anxiety and gave her a hope that has endured through her surgery and treatment.

Now a cancer survivor, Burgess shines a light of positivity to those around her and she has nothing but gratitude toward God and the medical team at Gibbs Cancer Center for healing her and handling her diagnosis with such care.

Burgess had surgery shortly after her renal cancer diagnosis and will finish her immunotherapy in October 2024. Providers told her immunotherapy would be the best option based on the location of the cancer cells being close to her blood stream.

Renal cancer is a disease that occurs when malignant cells form in the lining inside the small tubes of the kidneys. It is the most common type of kidney cancer. It is estimated that about 81,610 new cases of kidney cancer will by diagnosed in 2024 in the U.S., and that about 14,390 will die from the disease.

“God is still in the miracle business. He’s still healing. He’s still saving lives. This has been an amazing journey for me,” she said. “This whole time I’ve had nothing but the faith of God. Without him, none of this would have been possible.”

Burgess said she has formed amazing friendships through the cancer survivorship network at Gibbs and attending survivorship events.

“When you look around, you know that everybody here is in the same boat. It might be a different cancer, but they’re all going through treatment,” she said. “You can feel free to just be.”

She and her family have a passion for caring for others with cancer and their caretakers. They hold an event once a year to raise money and deliver care packages and baskets.

“Just because I’m down doesn’t mean I can’t lift someone up,” she said. “We’re still supposed to be helping other people along the way.”

Burgess said she vividly remembers the first hospital room her and her husband were in when they first learned about cancer. She said she remembers hearing from God, letting her know that she’s going to have to go through a season of hardship, but that “cancer is not the end of your story.”