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Dear Dr. Roach: Is there a cure for keloids? My husband is 56 and has several keloids on his body, but there is one on his chest that has gotten considerably larger over the years and causes the most problems. He has experienced pain and discomfort, and it also bleeds at times. My husband would prefer not to have surgery. He was born with a keloid on his ear. At a very young age, it was operated on, and it returned larger in size. He has tried numerous types of remedies, but none has prevented the keloid from growing or bleeding.

J.B.

Dear J.B.: A keloid (from a Greek word meaning “tumor-like”) is a complication of scar tissue. In some people, when the skin heals from a cut or a burn, the healing cells keep growing, creating a variably sized, disfiguring, sometimes painful lesion called a keloid.

The best treatment in people who are predisposed to keloids is to avoid them by avoiding any unnecessary surgery (including ear and other body piercings). Once a keloid has formed, there are several possible treatments. Unfortunately, the longer a keloid has been there, the harder it is to treat.

I have seen great results from silicone gel sheeting. This is particularly effective when used immediately after surgery, but may have some effectiveness on your husband’s chest keloid. Another potentially effective treatment is injection of steroids, which help flatten and shrink keloids up to 75 percent of the time.

Dear Dr. Roach: I have heard that drinking water with your meal is bad for you. Is this true? And if so, why? I have a dry mouth due to cancer treatment and must have water with everything I eat. Is something bad going to happen to me? I am otherwise healthy.

R.G.

Dear R.G.: It’s not true at all. Water is, generally speaking, the healthiest drink. It is possible to drink too much water, but it’s very hard to do so unless you are taking medications that affect your kidneys or you have excess anti-diuretic hormone, an unusual medical condition. Keep drinking your water.

Email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu.

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