An article on prognoses.
Tumor growth is unpredictable. A recent questioned posed was, “at what speed do tumors grow? “First let us discuss tumors, not all tumors are the same, a mass is different from a met, a legion different from a tumor and so on. Yes they are all similar, but they have different names because they have their own unique characteristics.
As in nature, the growth of living things is unpredictable because there are too many variables. Let us take a simple example; can we predict how many bushels of apples an apple tree will produce? No. The number of bushels is determined by the size and quantity of the apples. Unless we can predict how much rain will fall, how many flowers will get pollinated, how many cows will fertilize the tree, how many cold or hot days will occur, how many worms will eat the apples, and on and on. So no we will not be able to predict with certainty how many bushels of apples an apple tree will be produced.
Now let us use a similar analogy to kidney cancer, and let us discuss a “mass”.
In a controlled environment, one may argue that the growth of a mass will be predictable, and they may be right or wrong.
We live in an ever changing environment, and one variable that is truly predictable is change.
Looking at the growth of kidney cancer, it starts for no known reason, and has no known cause. As it grows we theorize our immune system tries to fight, kill, stop, or control it. We do not know how successful our immune system is or was. Our immune systems may have been effective in many cases, we may never know.
In cases where kidney cancer is able to grow, the immune system continues to fight this growth. In the case of kidney cancer, the body builds a wall around the cancer which is called a “mass”. The mass as seen on YouTube, is ugly, it is black, brown, gray, bloody. Our immune system attempts to stop the growth, probably in many ways, but the mass is a wall body tissues such as fat cells, and clotting agents similar to scabs on the exterior of our bodies when we have a cut or scratch. As the cancer grows, so does the mass. In a controlled environment this growth may be predictable.
So as in the case of the apple tree production is the result of quantity and size of the apples. Let us theorize the growth of kidney cancer mass is controlled by our immune system. That is our immune system can, if working at full efficiency, can regulate the growth of the mass, in a predictable model.
The truth is we do not live in a controlled environment, and the immune system does not work at full efficiency. Let us theorize the immune system is compromised by two variables, physical and emotional.
On the physical side, the immune system is compromised by other ailments: broken bones, arthritis, colds, cuts, diabetes, obesity, alcoholism, and many more.
On the emotional side, the immune system is compromised by stress: death of a loved one, moving, new job, injury to a family member, getting fired or laid-off, dealing with cancer, worry, and on and on.
Theorizing a mass grows at 1 cm a year or.5 cm per year, an eight cm mass would have been growing for 8 to 16 years. In this period of time, individuals experience a varied and unpredictable number of emotional and physical ailments, compromising the immune system differently, but the same.
When our bodies suffer or anticipate an emotional or physical ailment, our bodily systems work in a predictable manner. Our “fight or flight” predisposition alerts our bodies to set in motion a number of defensive or offensive mechanisms. As in the days of the saber tooth tiger, the cave man and modern man’s bodily systems still respond in much the same way. Our eyes dilate, digestion ceases, blood is routed to run or fight muscle groups, veins and arteries contract in anticipation of injury to minimize blood loss and more. During periods of stress the body releases cortisol, adrenaline, and clotting agents into the blood system.
Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone”, although a little is good, prolonged periods of physical or emotional stress produce too much cortisol, and too much cortisol weakens the immune system.
Clotting agents in the blood, under prolonged periods of physical or emotional stress, will cause clots to form causing heart attacks, strokes, loss of limbs, and more.
Let us take a step back, estimates of how many cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed a year range from 40,000 to 60,000. Theoretically this number is greatly underestimated because individuals with kidney cancer die from heart attacks and strokes. Bodily systems fighting kidney cancer and other related or unrelated ailments produce too much cortisol and clotting agents weakening the immune system and cause clots to form causing injury and death from blood clots.
Using this theory, one could conclude many studies, models, analysis, research papers, are flawed because statistically the number of kidney cancer carriers has not been established.
So, can we predict how fast tumors grow, if you are comfortable with estimates of.5 cm to 1.0 cm a year you may be fine. In July 2011, a scan revealed a spot in my lung less than .1 cm, in November 2011 a scan revealed it had grown, and when removed later in November 2011, it was 1.2 cm kidney cancer tumor/met. That would be a growth rate of over 2 cm per year.
So where is the hope? The majority of kidney cancer it has been said is found by accident or it was an incidental find. Or as one doctor said, “If it wasn’t for sloppy medicine you would be dead”. I consider it luck that my cancer was found, and many of us are lucky to be alive. My hope lies in luck; I believe my luck will continue.
But, I much prefer data, research, analysis and medicine to luck.
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