kidney cancer

  1. Watchful waiting for kidney tumors

    Watchful waiting works for some kidney cancers

    There's no scare quite like a cancer scare -- and when you're told you have a kidney tumor, it's only natural to want the thing taken out.

    But don't rush into a decision on this one, because many common kidney tumors may not need treatment at all, they might just need watchful waiting. And for seniors, surgery could be far more dangerous than the tumor itself.

    Just 3 percent of seniors with kidney tumors of 1.5 inches in diameter or less die of them within five years, according to a new study of 7,148 seniors with exactly those types of tumors.

    That's 3 percent total -- whether they have surgery to remove the tumor, or just let it be.

    But while the tumor is unlikely to kill you either way, you can't say the same about surgery. It often means taking out part or even the entire kidney along with the tumor -- putting you at risk of infection, kidney disease, kidney failure, heart problems, and death.

    As a result, patients who leave the tumor alone for watching waiting are actually 63 percent less likely to die and 50 less likely to suffer serious heart problems over three years than patients who have surgery, according to the study presented at a recent American Society of Clinical Oncology conference.

    Of course, it's one thing to live with a tumor. It's quite another to live with a tumor and not worry about it -- because once you know it's there it's hard not to be concerned.

    That's why watchful waiting with any suspected cancer -- kidney or otherwise -- should always be combined with a nutritional approach that can help slow its growth and ensure that your harmless tumor remains that way.

    A holistic physician can help you choose the best options for your needs. And for complete natural cancer care in the Southern California area -- whether you choose surgery or watchful waiting -- make an appointment to see me at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

  2. Common chemical PFOA linked to cancer

    'Everywhere' chemical in cancer link

    Love popcorn? Whatever you do, don't make yours in the microwave -- because nuked popcorn contains a chemical you won't find listed in the ingredients.

    And it can wreck your health.

    It's not the popcorn itself or even the fake buttery spread -- although, let's face it, those are bad enough.

    It's C-8P, or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical used to manufacture the heat-resistant fluoropolymers used in microwave popcorn packaging, fast food burger wrappers, nonstick cookware, and more.

    It's practically everywhere, really -- and now, a team of independent scientists says this stuff could give you cancer.

    And how we found out about this disease link is an absolute tragedy.

    Years ago, the groundwater in a region of West Virginia was contaminated with PFOA from a chemical plant that makes the stuff. But the people didn't know it. Not at first anyway -- so for years, they were getting low-but-constant levels of it from their drinking water.

    Now, they're paying the price: Scientists brought in to monitor the community say they've established a "probable link" between PFOA exposure and both kidney and testicular cancer.

    In fact, high levels of PFOA increased the risk of kidney cancer by 170 percent, according to the panel.

    Last year, the same panel found a link between the chemical and preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) -- and there could be more revelations to come as the panel gets ready to release a series of reports on possible links between PFOA and heart disease, thyroid problems, neurological issues in children, and more.

    I'll keep you posted.

    In the meantime, work on avoiding these chemicals as much as you can, and not just PFOA. This stuff is part of an entire class of dangerous chemicals called PFCs, and they're used to make things waterproof, wrinkle-free, stain-resistant, heat-resistant, and non-stick.

    And along with cancer, they've been linked to hypothyroidism, immune system problems, reproductive disorders, and more.

    What makes this so much worse is that these chemicals stay in the body for a very long time. The half-life of PFOA -- the amount of time it takes for half of the original amount to leave the body -- is 4.4 years.

    Another PFC, PFOS, has a half-life of nine years.

    Clearly, a little bit goes a very long way.

    Since they're in everything, they're not easy to avoid -- so let me get you started: You can pop ordinary popcorn kernels in your microwave using nothing more than a plain brown paper lunch bag.

    You don't even need oil.

    It's cheap, easy, and every bit as fast. Not to mention chemical-free... and no fake buttery spread.

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