Category: Cancer

Kidney cancer may be linked to multiple myeloma

I just noticed this on Reuters and wanted to post it before I forgot about it.  I’ll comment later on and will be looking for the original article published in the medical journal.
Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:29pm EDT

By Megan Rauscher

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – For the first time, researchers have evidence of an association between renal cell carcinoma and multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, one that “cannot be explained by random incidence alone,” they say.

“I think general oncologists as well as myeloma and renal cancer physicians should be aware of this association,” Dr. Mohamad A. Hussein of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida, noted in comments to Reuters Health.

Renal cell carcinoma begins in the kidney cells and although it may progress slowly, it is very resistance to chemotherapy. Multiple myeloma, which may also progress slowly, is likewise resistant to treatment. It begins in the blood’s plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that is part of the immune system. Over time, myeloma cells build up in bone marrow and then in the solid parts of bone.

In a review of data from patients referred to the Cleveland Clinic between 1990 and 2005, Hussein and colleagues identified 1,100 patients with multiple myeloma, 2,704 with renal cell carcinoma, and 8 with both types of cancer.

In 4 of the 8 patients, renal cell carcinoma was diagnosed 3 to 46 months after the multiple myeloma diagnosis. In the remaining 4, renal cell carcinoma was diagnosed 1 to 108 months before the multiple myeloma. Seven of the 8 patients were first diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma on the right side.

“The probability of this association was much higher than that expected in the general population,” the researchers note in the medical journal BJU International. “No clear treatment-related, environmental, genetic or immune-mediated common factors can fully explain this association.”

The investigators point out that interleukin-6 supports the growth and expansion of both types of cancer. Interleukin-6 is a “cytokine” that normally enhances the body’s immune response to disease and infection.

“I think the take-home message,” Hussein said, “is that after active therapy for myeloma, if the kidney lesion does not clear — especially if it is affecting the right kidney — renal cell cancer should be considered.”

In this study, when myeloma was the first malignancy diagnosed, “the renal cell carcinoma was at a very early stage and therefore surgical exploration is critical.”

SOURCE: BJU International, March 2008. unveils “Ask the Expert”, featuring Multiple Myeloma physician and scientist, James R. Berenson, M.D. unveils “Ask the Expert”, featuring Multiple Myeloma physician and scientist, James R. Berenson, M.D.
Ask the Expert is a free online web-forum where Myeloma and Bone Cancer specialist, Dr. James R. Berenson offers medical answers to questions surrounding quality of life and longevity issues for patients living with this rare form of cancer.
Los Angeles, CA – and the Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research are proud to announce the creation of “Ask the Expert”, a free online web-forum featuring Multiple Myeloma expert, Dr. James R. Berenson. is the creation of myeloma-advocate, Beth Morgan.  The website serves to foster community in the form of an online forum where patients and caregivers could learn more about Multiple Myeloma, a plasma cell cancer that resides in the bone marrow.  Thousands of people visit every day.  Many visitors are Myeloma and Bone Cancer patients, caregivers and other medical professionals who actively participate in online discussions about treatment options and personal experiences.  “Ask the Expert” is the latest addition to the website and is available at no charge by registering on the site.  Visit for more information.
James R. Berenson, MD has 25 years experience in treating Multiple Myeloma and Bone Cancer patients.  Dr. Berenson is CEO and Medical Director for The Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research and CEO and President of Oncotherapeutics, an oncology-specific clinical trials management service.  Dr. Berenson is an active clinician who treats patients daily in his Los Angeles offices and acts as a specialist consult to patient’s primary oncologist or primary care physician throughout the world. For more information, visit
The Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research, based in Los Angeles, California, is an independent cancer research institute with a primary focus on hematologic cancers.  Established in 2004, the IMBCR is a 501 c (3) non-profit organization.  Over the last four years, the IMBCR has created novel breakthrough therapies that have substantially increased the longevity and quality of life of myeloma patients. The latest initiative at the institute is “The Cure Myeloma Project”, a multi-year research project that targets myeloma cells while keeping the non-cancerous cells intact.  For more information or to make a donation, visit
Media contact:
Beth Morgan, or,
Cheryl A. Cross, MPH, Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research 866-900-1035

Shingles almost gone

The shingles on my head - getting better

This is what my head looks like now.  The rash is gone.  There’s discoloration there, and the skin is extremely sensitive.  Sometimes it itches, too. I have another appointment to see the eye doctor on Tuesday, and I think it will be the last one for this.

If you’re wondering, the thing sticking out of my ear is from my iPod. This has been the first time I’ve tried to use it since before I had shingles. The virus caused pain even in my ear, which made it hurt to listen to music or even the telephone on that side. I still have headaches on the left side of my head, but they’re not as bad and not as constant as they were even a week ago.

You can see that my hair is growing. I hope to look half way normal by spring.

The picture was taken with PhotoBooth on the Mac, which, for reasons unknown to me, produces a mirror image.  So, when I talk of having shingles on the left side, it’s true.

More about shingles

And I thought famvir made me sick

On Friday I started taking famvir for an outbreak of shingles.  I knew from previous times that famvir gave me a pretty bad headache, but I thought I’d do it anyway and maybe this time it wouldn’t happen.  I withstood it for almost 4 full days, but then called the doctor to get something else. It was a wicked headache and I thought anything else had to be better.  I got the rx for acyclovir Tuesday and took my first dose with dinner. Pretty soon I was experiencing nausea.  Those of you who know me, know that this is a serious situation. I fought off the nausea for four hours and then finally had an episode of vomiting and diarrhea.  It was over fast, and probably not worth the four hours I spent trying to avoid it. We do what we do though, and it’s hard to overcome a phobia you’ve had all your life. This could have very well been a coincidence, but I attributed it to the acyclovir (nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are reported possible side effects).  I called my doctor the next day, and a nurse asked me if I could tolerate the famvir headache for just 3 more days.  So, I’m back on famvir now.  Just a couple of days to go.  Afterwards, I will probably take one a day to help prevent a recurrence of shingles.

The eye doctor told me that he saw no internal goings-on in my eye.  Only the exterior was affected, including the eyelid (outside and inside).  I have an antibiotic ointment to apply twice daily and a return appointment next week.

I should expect to have a complete recovery anywhere from a few weeks to 6 weeks.

More about shingles

I just learned that shingles’ name comes from the Latin cingulum, which means girdle or belt. There’s a lot of useful information about shingles at the FDA web site.

Eye doctor

Shingles on the left side of my faceI’m seeing the doctor this afternoon about my left eye, which is afflicted with shingles. If an eye is ever affected by shingles, get to a doctor, asap!

Here’s a new picture of what the rash looks like.  Don’t click on the thumbnail if you don’t want to see it.  I think it’s hideous.  I try to stay in so that I don’t attract mobs of torch-wielding villagers out in front of the house.

I’m still taking the 500 mg  of Famvir three times a day and am taking some oxycodone as needed.  I never thought I’d say this, but I wish I had some dex.

More about shingles

Shingles, schmingles

I have a case of shingles AGAIN.  This time it’s on the left side of my head and face, affecting my eye.  I’m on 500 mg of Famvir, three times a day. As my doctor said, it will get worse before it gets better. These pictures don’t really quite do it justice.

More about shingles on this blog.

What is shingles? There’s a really good explanation of shingles here on Wikipedia.

Shingles on my face

More shingles

Shingles affect my eyelid

zoster, shingles, varicella

Message from a reader

I got this message from a blog reader, Earl.  I wanted to share it.


Here is my story concerning my reversal of a pre-cancerous prostate, called high grade PIN.
On January 3, 2002 I had a PSA level of 4.6 indicating my prostate was in trouble. I went to a Urologist, he took a biopsy, I had a pre-cancerous prostate ( which means I did not have cancer, however 70 % of high grade PIN patients go to full blown prostate cancer within a year). I had all the ingredients that were suppose to lead to prostate cancer ( abnormal cells galore). The doctor said "only" that we will have to watch it. I didn’t like the answer so I said I will do more than watch, I will fix it. I went on the on the Internet and researched the "alternative health solutions"  to fixing the problem. I did so and applied the information. I had a biopsy in mid August of 2007; the biopsy showed no traces what so ever of the pre- cancerous cells! The Urologists believed I had changed the structure of my bad pre-cancerous cells back to normal.
Here is what I did. First let me speak briefly about curcumin.It is the new "alternative health hope" for MM. My wife passed away from MM 10 years ago. I started taking it several months ago. Two things became apparent to me recently. My C reactive protein count ( CRP) is .2 as of a reading I obtained  last week ( after taking curcumin) and my Triglycerides were 71, over a (30) point drop from my last reading. Why is that important? Inflammation seems to be a big factor in cancer and therefore MM as well. I am not a doctor and cannot speak in technical terms nor provide scientific evidence of results occurring in my body. I can only speak  anecdotally. I took the CRP test to determine  my risk for heart attacks; I learned below 1 is low risk; between 1-3 is a moderate risk; between 3-10 is high risk. I was reading a blog about MM and a man was suggesting CRP is very relevant to cancer and MM. So my CRP reading was VERY GOOD to say the least. However there is more to my story and other factors that might have made my CRP go down as well.
Briefly, my program to get rid of my pre-cancerous prostate was/is the following: I lost 25 lbs and maintained the weight loss. I went to a diet of ALL organic foods, no read meat (chicken and fish instead), stopped drinking and smoking, walked every day, bought a vita mix and juiced up to 50 ounces plus every day, with few exceptions, of "vegetables only." I occasionally had fruit but in much lower amounts due to the sugar content. I ate two table spoonfuls of "ground flaxseed". I had a table spoonful of cod liver oiI, had 3 oz. of Noni juice, 1000 grams of vitamin C; Saw Pallmento, selenium, Zinc, 600 mg of NAC (N acycetal cysteine),  tomato soup daily, bought a purifier for my faucet,  WAS EXTREMELY DISCIPLINED and did not deviate. Why? I was scared I was going to die.
I used broccoli, kale, parsley,carrots,  and cabbage (red) mixed with water. My taking curcumin (mixed with heated olive oil) must be taken in context with the above information.
Anyone reading this might correctly conclude this guy is a bit over the edge; I can understand that conclusion. However, I made a choice to live and go through some sacrifices for awhile…… worked. My life style change caused all kinds of other good things to happen to my body…….need less to say, I really feel good. It was a wake up call for me. I hope this information can help someone……I know the fear of cancer. What I learned through my experience gave "me control"……I could actually do something about my body to make it better. When the doctor said we should "watch the high grade PIN" ……..initially I felt hopeless. Then I took control; unfortunately or fortunately, you have to do "it" yourself………place it in your mind and do it.
I truly hope this information will help others. Always believe you can do it……..if you think you can , you can….if you think you can’t , you can’t.