DEAR DR. GOTT: I am a 53-year-old female who is about 50 pounds overweight. I have saved, for years, the column you wrote on fatty tumors. I had a few of them, but my doctor said to leave them alone, even though they could be seen through my clothing. In the past two to three years, they have multiplied, and I know I probably have hundreds of them. I’ve had a few removed that are painful, and they were lipomas, as suspected. Some of the remaining ones are painful; some are not.
Should I continue to “let it go,” or should I have more removed? In your column, you said it could be associated with Gardner’s syndrome. Should I look into that area? Would losing weight help, or would they just become more pronounced?
DEAR READER: Most peripheral nerve tumors are benign. There are a number of types, including lipomas, ganglion cysts, schwannomas, dumbbell tumors and neurofibromas.
Colon polyps, multiple osteoma and soft-tissue tumors characterize Gardner’s syndrome. The average age of diagnosis is 22. A common symptom, other than lipomas, is dental anomalies, such as multiple impactions. Treatment depends on the location and appearance of the lesions. Surgical excision may be recommended.
Speak with your physician about a weight-loss program. I don’t know whether losing 50 pounds would improve your situation. I do know that fat cells increase in volume and size with weight gain, and liposuction, for example, will reduce the number of fat cells in the body. If losing weight works, you will feel better and the number of slow-growing fat cells within your body may be reduced. This is a win-win situation.
With respect to “leaving them alone,” I would buy that approach only if I were convinced all the lesions were benign and that removal, weight loss, liposuction and every other consideration has been ruled out. If you can’t get that assurance or other management options from your doctor, request a referral for a second opinion.
To provide related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “A Strategy for Losing Weight – Introduction to the No Flour, No Sugar Diet.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed stamped No. 10 envelope and a $2 check or money order to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092-0167. Be sure to mention the title or print an order form off my website at www.AskDrGottMD.com.
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