watchful waiting

  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. Prostate treatment can cause sex problems

    Erectile dysfunction can last 15 years or more

    When men hear the words "prostate cancer" they often rush into treatment so fast they never even consider the side effects.

    But there are side effects -- life-altering and even life-ruining side effects, including sex problems that can last for years or even for the rest of your life.

    In one new study, men who were treated for early stage prostate tumors suffered from lingering sex problems for years afterwards. Not just some of them, but nearly all of them.

    And not just for a few years.

    The study tracked 1,655 men between the ages of 55 and 74 at the start of the study, and 87 percent of the ones who had prostate surgery were suffering from sex problems a full 15 years later.

    The numbers for men treated with radiation were even worse: 94 percent of them were battling sexual dysfunction 15 years later.

    Now, it goes without saying that any large group of men in their 70s and 80s will include some guys with sex problems-- but we know from other studies that it should be roughly half of them... not practically everyone.

    And that wasn't the only problem that lingered through the years.

    Eighteen percent of the men who had surgery and 9 percent of the ones who had radiation were battling urinary incontinence 15 years later, while 5 percent of the men who had surgery and 16 percent of those who underwent radiation were experiencing bowel issues.

    Of course, if prostate surgery and radiation saved lives, you can argue that maybe it's worth all those risks and more.

    But we know from other studies that many -- maybe all -- of these men would have survived even without radical treatment options such as surgery and radiation.

    In one study I told you about last summer, men with prostate cancer were assigned to either surgery or no treatment at all. A decade later, there were no significant differences in the death rates.

    That's because in many cases, prostate tumors grow so slowly that they simply do not pose a threat during a normal human lifespan -- especially the early-stage tumors like the ones treated in the new study.

    Instead of rushing into surgery, many senior men with prostate cancer would do well with an approach called watchful waiting. It's exactly what it sounds like: Keep an eye on the tumor, but don't treat it unless it starts to grow.

    One way to help make sure that tumor stays small and worry-free is to not worry about it yourself -- because stress alone can actually help feed many tumors, especially prostate tumors.

    In experiments on mice that had human prostate cancer cells implanted in them, researchers found they were able to wipe out the cancer cells with medication when the mice were left unstressed.

    But when the mice were stressed, the drug didn't work at all -- and the cells kept growing.

    So watch the tumor and watch your stress -- and don't forget to include some prostate-friendly nutrients in your regimen, including vitamin D, turmeric, and selenium.

    If surgery is indicated consult with a surgeon who has a lot of experience using robotic prostate surgery to reduce your risk of complications.

    Work closely with a holistic physician on a nutritional approach that's right for you. And for natural cancer care in the southern California area -- including treatment that can help minimize the sex problems and other side effects of surgery and radiation when you do need it -- make an appointment to see me at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

  3. Prostate surgery can lead to sexual dysfunction but not life saving

    Men with prostate cancer who don't get surgery have nearly the same survival rate as those who do -- with none of the risks of surgery, according to a new study.

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