As terrifying as Eugene Finney’s encounter with a shark was, the incident actually saved his life.
While on vacation with his family in Southern California, Eugene was swimming at the beach when a shark slammed into him and tore a gash down his back. Upon returning home to Boston, he went to the hospital after he continued to experience chest and back pain as well as irregular breathing stemming from the attack.
The doctors determined he had internal bruising from blunt force trauma from the shark along with something much more concerning.
“Through a series of tests, the doctors told me that I had interior bruising of the thoracic cavity and, ‘Oh by the way, you also have a tumor on your kidney and it’s most likely cancerous,” he tells The Doctors.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says this is an example of an incidentaloma, where you seek medical help for one problem only to find another issue, often times cancer.
Luckily, Eugene successfully had the tumor removed and is now doing well.
Speaking with CBS Boston about the incident he says, “The shark was a real message to me… If this didn’t happen with the shark, causing me to go in with this chest pain, I would have never known about this cancer. I feel fortunate. I really feel like I’ve gotten a second chance at life and I’m not going to blow it.”
And if Eugene’s story leaves you afraid to go in the water, rest assured that in 2015 there were only 98 reported unprovoked shark attacks worldwide and 6 deaths, according to the International Shark Attack File. The report noted that more people are killed each year from spiders, dogs and lighting.