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  #1  
Old 03-12-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Danny
Default cancer risks from chlorine in pools

Last fall I was diagnosed with bladder cancer and a tumor was removed. I am told that the chances of this type of tumor recurring over the next 15 yr is about 70%. Recently someone passed on an article in a medical journal

https://academic.oup.com/aje/article...093/aje/kwj364

concerning the impact of chlorinated water on bladder cancer. Among other things, the process of inhaling it when showering or swimming in a public pool can also increase your odds of bladder cancer, according to this article. A closer look at the statistics they have points out that they don't have enough data to make any precise statements concerning how big an impact swimming in public pools may have, but there seems to be a lot of information out there linking chlorinated water and bladder cancer.

So here is my dilemma: I love pool swimming and I am doing it 3-4 times a week. I like to work fairly hard at it, so that means I am getting out of breath when I swim. I have to weigh this against a possible increase in the odds of my tumor coming back, or it returning sooner. There is no clear answer to this dilemma. My pool swimming has obvious pros and cons associated with it, but I thought I would post these questions and solicit feedback from others while I consider my options. Thanks for your help!

Last edited by Danny : 03-12-2017 at 03:05 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-13-2017
IngeA IngeA is offline
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I'm sad to hear of your illness.

That's a difficult matter to decide an d I fear that none of us really can give good advise.
There are many effects of swimming, good ones and concerning the cancer or asthma there may be bad ones.
But even if someone had shown in a study that regularly swimming in the pool decreases bladder cancer, it would not be a penny worth for you as you are at the wrong side of this evaluation.
Statistics are helpful to observe development in some points, for scientists, doctors and for insurances....
They are not really helpful for individuals.

I think the only one who can decide this are you. How do you feel with swimming. Can you do without or would you miss it gravely? Is there any other sport with that you can get the same effect for fitness and health and for the "whole you".

I had to decide this two years ago when I got the diagnosis epilepsy. The most common death for people with epilepsy is drowning.
The risk decreases with the time without a fit. Now I'm officially allowed do swim without personal supervision. The risk of another fit is not higher than for other people (everyone can have a fit). But nonetheless some uneasiness in mind remains.

I hope you will find a good solution.

Best regards

Inge
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Old 03-13-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Hi Inge,

Thanks for your thoughts. I'm not sure I agree with you that "Statistics are helpful to observe development in some points, for scientists, doctors and for insurances....
They are not really helpful for individuals." It sounds to me that you too are using statistics to decide how safe it is for you to swim. None of this guarantees that something will or will not happen to you while swimming, but if the risk is very high, it is probably something you don't want to do, whereas if the risk is no higher than in the average population, you may feel that it is a risk worth taking. I wish you good luck in dealing with your epilepsy.

In the case of my cancer, the question, as I see it, is how to reduce the chances of my tumor recurring, which I am told is 70% over 15 yr. This is for the general population, swimmers and non-swimmers. If those chances increase to 90% or, even worse, if the chance of recurrence becomes 70% over the next 5 yr instead of 15, that is something I would want to consider. Unfortunately, I don't think there is any reliable data available to judge these risks very accurately. So, in the end, I will have to weigh the pros and cons with whatever information I have available and then make a decision. At the moment, I don't feel that I have all of the information and context about this that might be out there, and I am looking for anyone who might have a perspective or knowledge about this that is new to me.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Danny
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Old 03-13-2017
IngeA IngeA is offline
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Hi Danny,

yes, I think you are right. I was writing unmindful.

I didn't often calculate the odds ratio and if I did, it was the other way round. I try to figure out what the percentage would be.
But you have to keep in mind, that the study was made for another group of people. It was the odds ratio to first cancer with and without risks not the odds ratio for the relapse. So it could be that one cannot transfer the result to that case.

Best regards

Inge
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  #5  
Old 03-13-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Hi Inge,

Yes, you are right. I have been spending some time lately wishing I had vast amounts of data concerning precisely the situation I find myself in, but unfortunately, this is not the case. So I am trying to make an intuitive leap based on what is available, keeping in mind that there are no guarantees in any of this. The problem I have here is that I don't even really understand the limited information that is available. It is based on statistics that I only dimly understand, and there are a lot of conflicting interests expressed in the research I have found. In particular, some of the most careful studies seem to be done by people who are concerned that reducing chlorine in water could lead to spreading unwanted infections. For this reason, they are being very careful not to write anything that could produce unwanted results. I understand the need for this, but it makes it more difficult for me to assess my own situation. So I am googling, asking all sorts of people for advice, and thinking about how to sort out and evaluate all of the information I am getting. Fortunately, I don't think I need to decide about this today or even next week. This morning I went swimming and, as always, I had a wonderful time doing it!

I send you my best regards,

Danny
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Old 03-15-2017
s.sciame s.sciame is offline
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s.sciame
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Hi Danny,
so sorry to hear that. Hope you'll find more info to better evaluate. I don't know where you live, could open water swimming eventually be an option? Many people swim ow all year around, you could start with gear (wetsuit, neoprene cap, gloves and socks) during the cold season.

Do you remember this inspiring and fascinating post?

https://www.totalimmersion.net/forum...89&postcount=3

Best regards,
Salvo
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  #7  
Old 03-15-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Danny
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Hi Salvo,

I live in Michigan, USA, and right now it is below freezing outside. I am in awe of the person who wrote the post you attached, but that seems very far away from what I can imagine for myself at the moment. In the summer, I do enjoy open water swimming, although I have problems with allergies to something in the water, which limits the amount of this I can do. When I vacation in Munich, I have swum sometimes in air temperatures below 15 C. The worst part was always getting out of the pool. There was about 150 m walk back to the showers, and I was usually shaking like a leaf by the time I got there. The warm shower was my reward.

I am still waiting to collect opinions from people before making any decisions on this. In the meantime, I was at the pool again today and loved every minute of it. I don't feel under pressure to make an immediate decision about this. It seems to me that the relevant time scales are on the order of years.

Danny
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Old 03-18-2017
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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WFEGb
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Hello Danny,

my thumbs are still pressed for Terry, now for you too, that the cancer may leave you alone!

Just one of my thoughts been thrown in sometimes FWIW: No matter how meaningful the statistics are, it will not hurt to have a talk with the pool owners or responsible stuff:

- When do they measure the water and put the chlorine in? (You may go out just before, or miss swimming on that special day...)

- You may ask for the (un)usually used concentratrion. They seem to be very different. I'm not sensible with my skin, but my wife is with her. There are some pools she won't go with me... and she can smell in which pool I had my swim...

- Here in Hamburg are some pools cleaning the water with Ozon (O3) and they are using much less chlorine. Maybe you can find one?

Best wishes for unloaded swimming in every sense!

Best regards,
Werner
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  #9  
Old 03-18-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Hi Werner,

Thanks for your thoughts! All of your suggestions are good, and I will consider them. I must unfortunately concede that I already know that the pool that is nearest to me (within walking distance) is completely chaotic, with the chemicals often out of balance. The next alternative is 30 minutes drive from me, but a much nicer pool that is better maintained.

In this regard, I would be much better off if I lived in Germany, where everything seems to be maintained much better than in America. This is not an accident. It relates to the American and German attitudes towards bureaucracy. But that is another subject...

Viele Gruesse,

Danny
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