With Health Scare Behind Her, Saratoga Springs Teen Thrives on Stage

Katelyn Hogan has had a love of musical theater since she was four years old. Singing, acting, and dancing have always been in her blood. The 15-year-old has starred in community and regional theater performances throughout her childhood.

Six years ago, Hogan, then nine, started to feel a pain in her stomach. After it persisted for a couple of days, her parents took her to the family’s pediatrician. The recommendation was for imaging—first an X-ray, then an ultrasound, and finally an MRI. This was done at Malta Med Emergent Care, a part of the Albany Med Health System.

“Something wasn’t right,” Hogan’s mom, Kelly, said. She could see concern on the technician’s faces as additional staff were called in to view the scans.

A physician’s assistant would meet with Hogan’s parents to deliver the news—a diagnosis of a Wilms tumor, the most common type of pediatric kidney cancer.

Hogan was transported by ambulance to the Massry Family Children’s Emergency Center at Albany Medical Center. There, her diagnosis was confirmed, and she would soon undergo an exploratory surgery to determine if the tumor was intact. Three days after first complaining of stomach pain, Hogan underwent a 10-hour operation to remove a kidney and adjacent adrenal gland.

Eager to get back to good health, Hogan was up and walking on the second day after the successful surgery. She would spend 10 days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Albany Medical Center. She would then undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments for the next six months.

Hogan credits the medical team at the Albany Med Health System with getting her back to good health. That includes her physician, Jennifer Pearce, MD, who she said shaved her head in solidarity as part of a fundraiser taking place at the time.

“The experience was great. I couldn’t ask for anything better. They were all so welcoming,” Hogan said.

With a passion for the hobbies she loves, her own personal strength through her medical scare,  and with the support of Albany Med Health System physicians and nurses, Hogan, now in high school, has a bright future ahead.

The best news? After more than five years of regular check-ups and receiving the care she needed, Hogan was declared cancer-free in May 2022.