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Some patients with any abnormality “can’t sleep at night until something’s done about it,” he said. Doctors need to say, “We’re not sticking our head in the sand, we’re going to follow this” and can operate if it gets worse.

One of Huang’s patients _ 81-year-old Rhona Landorf, who lives in New York City _ needed little persuasion.

“I was very happy not to have to be operated on,” she said. “He said it’s very slow growing and that having an operation would be worse for me than the cancer.”

Landorf said her father had been a doctor, and she trusts her doctors’ advice. Does she think about her tumor? “Not at all,” she said.

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Online:

Kidney cancer info: http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/kidney-cancer

and http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/kidney

Study: http://gucasym.org

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Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP