Linda was rushed into surgery to remove a 140-pound tumor.

For years, Linda had gotten the same advice from her doctor as millions of Americans—you need to lose weight. Over a period of about 20 years, her weight rose to as much 300 pounds. Linda says she trusted that advice and tried various diets plans, none of which ever worked.

Then, one Easter, she went to the doctor with what she thought was the flu. They told her it was a ruptured appendix and rushed her to emergency surgery. During the operation, they found something more than a ruptured appendix—and removed 40 pounds of tumor. They then took Linda to another facility where doctors removed the rest of the tumor.

After two surgeries, doctors had removed 140 pounds of cancerous tumor from Linda's stomach—nearly half her weight.

After both parts of the tumor were successfully removed, no radiation or chemotherapy was necessary. However, Linda still has cancerous cells in her body that will need to be removed with further surgeries if they start to grow.
Dr. Oz explains how a tumor grows.

To understand what happened to Linda, Dr. Oz explains what a tumor actually is, using a replica of Linda's tumor.

It starts with individual cells. "But cancer cells are sociopathic—they don't get along with each other," he says. "They have sharp elbows pushing the other cells out of the way."

Those cancerous cells really become a threat if they tap into a supply of blood vessels, Dr. Oz says. "They bring nutrients that allow the cancer to grow, and they give the cancer a way to escape, because the cancer gets into the blood cells," he says. "They get into the lymph nodes, and that's how cancer will spread."
Another big mystery is how the tumor could have gotten so massive without anyone ever knowing.

"It's a two-way street," Dr. Oz says. "When you miss a 140-pound tumor, a couple things happened wrong. The first was you were pretty heavy. You were over 300 pounds. When you're over 300 pounds, it's hard for doctors to get to your stomach. ... It's difficult to tell what's normal or not. You were too big to get into the scanner. They couldn't get pictures that they normally would take of the inside."
Dr. Oz and Linda

One reason this tumor grew so big over approximately two decades is that Linda never sought a second opinion about her unexplained weight gain. "Just because you have a doctor for 20 years like I did and trusted him, make sure you have it checked out [again]," she says. "Second, third, fourth."

Dr. Oz says while getting a second opinion can feel like you're breaking a "precious covenant" with your doctor, it really can be critical to your health. "I tell you right now, when you go to get a second opinion, you're teaching me," Dr. Oz says. "[It] doesn't just change your care, it changes the care of everybody else I take care of in so many ways."

Those patients who do get second opinions, Dr. Oz says, tend to see dramatic differences. "It turns out that only 10 percent of us get second opinions," he says. "But when you get them, one-third of the time they will change your diagnosis or your therapy. I don't care how good the doctor is. One-third of the time, a different doctor is going to have a different take on what's going on—and that's an insight that we can never forget."
Dr. Oz explains what dry drowning is.

When the news that a 10-year-old boy named Johnny in South Carolina died from "dry drowning"—hours after he'd gotten out of a local swimming pool—parents everywhere felt panicked. What caused this tragedy, and are other children at risk?

To find out exactly what happened and to make sure no family has to go through it again, Dr. Oz travels to Goose Creek, South Carolina, to meet with Johnny's mom, Cassandra.

"Johnny was a very special boy. He was kind, thoughtful. He was a little gentleman," she tells Dr. Oz. "I wish I could put my arms around him and say, 'I love you.' But I look up at the clouds and I tell him that I miss his arms—his skinny arms—around me, and his soft, cottony cheeks. That's what I miss the most."
Dr. Oz speaks with Cassandra, whose son died from dry drowning.

Dr. Oz accompanies Cassandra on her first visit to the pool where Johnny was swimming. When she shows Dr. Oz the exact spot—only 3 feet deep in the shallow end—where he went underwater, she is overcome with grief. "I was holding his hand, and then he decided he would hold the ledge here, and he would walk around with his sister," she says. "By that point, I decided to walk back over here and watch him."

Cassandra says Johnny's head went under water for "a hair second." When he came up, he started coughing a little. "I didn't worry about it," she says. "Because if you ingest a little bit of water, your instant impulse is to [cough], you know."

At first, Cassandra says she didn't notice anything wrong with Johnny. Then he told her had had to use the bathroom. "That's when I noticed he'd had a bowel movement on himself," she says.

Cassandra then brought Johnny home and gave him a bath and took him to bed because he seemed very tired. "I asked him at that point if he was okay," she says. "He told me that he was fine; he just wanted to go to sleep. It probably was about 30 minutes later I came into the room and he had a lot of foam around his nose."

She called 911, and paramedics arrived within minutes, but Johnny went into full cardiac arrest. He died at the hospital.

Cassandra said goodbye to Johnny in his room. "I kissed him on that soft cheek, and I told him I was so sorry that I didn't know how to save him. I told him that I loved him and that I would miss him," she says. "That was so hard, to see him lying there knowing that I would never talk to him or see him again."
Dr. Oz demonstrates how human lungs operate using a pig's lungs.

Dr. Oz explains that what happened to Johnny is not what most people think of as drowning. Using the lungs from a pig, which is how medical students learn about lung function, Dr. Oz demonstrates what happens during dry drowning.

Normal lung function requires the lungs to open and close to their maximum capacity, getting as much oxygen to the blood as possible. They are able to open all the way with the aid of a soapy material inside the lungs. "Now what happens if you take a little bit of water in there? That water washes away the soap on the inside so the lungs can no longer be open fully," he says. "Plus, the water's actually very irritating to the insides of the lung. So if the lung gets swollen, it shrinks and shrinks."

Dr. Oz says that Cassandra saw several signals but had no way of understanding their importance: that Johnny was suffering from reduced oxygen. First, he went to the bathroom on himself. "His oxygen was dropping, so he wasn't thinking right and went to the bathroom," Dr. Oz says. "That's a change of behavior."

Another key sign was that Johnny felt so tired. "Sometimes you get short of breath—not always. But you get really tired," Dr. Oz says. "And [Johnny] actually fell asleep, [Cassandra] thought, on the floor next to his bed. He never really got into the bed."

While Dr. Oz emphasizes that dry drowning is incredibly rare, he offers a few ways to protect your children. The best way is to teach them how to swim and not to swallow water, which can lead to mistaken aspiration—or letting water get sucked into the lungs instead of swallowed into the stomach.

Parents also need to be aware of three warning signs of dry drowning. "If your kid has shortness of breath coming out of the water, or they're not acting themselves, or they're really sleepy," Dr. Oz says. "You ought to at least get someone to take a look at them."
Sandra is Skyping in from Perth, Australia.

Sandra from Perth, Australia, is Skyping™ in during the wee hours of the morning to ask about something she hopes will be the answer to her dieting prayers. "I actually saw some headlines recently that actually said that there's an exercise pill, and it's a dream come true," she says. "Is there an exercise pill that can be healthy and you still don't have to exercise?"

Dr. Oz says there is some truth to this couch potato's fantasy. There is a pill—but it's only in "rat stage." "If there's an exercise pill, I would have had it, and then it would have become one of my favorite things, and I would have told you all about it," Oprah says.

Dr. Oz says scientist Ronald Evans has been researching the differences between the best athletes around and people who have trouble losing weight. It all comes down to cells called mitochondria—the "energy factories" found in each muscle cell. Athletes have a lot of mitochondria and get more out of their exercise—people who tend to gain a lot of weight don't have as many.

Dr. Oz says the weight loss pill has been tested on rats, and the ones who got the pill ran almost 50 percent further than those who didn't. The rats who got the pill and some training were able to go 75 percent more than any other rat.

Dr. Oz says he thinks a weight loss pill for humans could be a possibility someday, but he emphasizes the importance of working out for yourself. "If you can exercise, it is a much better way of getting the results we want," he says. "When you exercise, you're getting a double dividend. You're getting the benefit of losing the calories while you exercise, plus you're training your body to burn more calories even when you're not exercising."
Dr. Oz explains how to protect yourself from possible harm caused by exposure to cell phones.


Laura from Indiana is phoning in her burning question for Dr. Oz. "Recently there have been headlines all over the news and papers about possible risks associated with cell phone use," she says. "What is the truth about cell phones and their possible risks?"

Approximately 85 percent of us use cell phones—including Dr. Oz. While there's been no study linking cell phones to brain cancer or other health issues, Dr. Oz says it can't hurt to be careful. "Cell phones get hot, which has an impact, but they also release these electromagnetic fields. And we know that those electromagnetic fields can change the way brain cells work," Dr. Oz says. "We don't know if they make them cancer cells, but we know they can change how they function, especially in kids."

Dr. Oz says there are simple things you can do to reduce your cell phone use without giving it up completely.
  • Don't keep your cell phone on you all the time. "Even if it's a little bit away from your ear, it dramatically drops the power that it has on you," Dr. Oz says.
  • If you're getting bad reception, make the call later. "When the cell phone doesn't have good reception, it has to jack up the amount of electromagnetic field that it's releasing, so it actually has to affect your brain more."
  • If you use a wireless headset, take it off when you're not using it. "That's an antenna too," he says.
  • Only allow your kids to use the phone in case of emergency. "Kids' brains are more sensitive, and their skulls are thinner, so why expose them until we really know for sure?"
  • Don't sleep with the cell phone next to your head. "No one's going to call you at 2 in the morning that you can't get to it if it's 5 feet from you."
  • If you're talking for a long time, switch sides every few minutes. "That way you're releasing your brain cells from being exposed to that field for a period of time."
Jennifer from Connecticut on Skype thanks Dr. Oz for helping her lose weight.

Jennifer from Connecticut received a Christmas gift in 2006 that changed her life.

After having three children, Jennifer says she weighed more than 200 pounds and was unhappy. She joined a gym but sill wasn't losing weight—until her aunt gave her Dr. Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen's book YOU: On a Diet.

"I read the book. I started reading my labels. I changed the way I ate," Jennifer says. "The results I saw were amazing. And six months after that, I had lost over 50 pounds."

In addition to looking great, Jennifer says she hasn't had any migraine headaches and has been able to stop taking medication for anxiety. "Everywhere I go, they tell me that I look like a different person. And you know what? It's not just the outside," she says. "It's my mentality. My frame of mind. Every day I wake up and I'm, like, 'Yes. Another beautiful day.' And I just owe it all to Dr. Oz."

Dr. Oz is honored, but he says Jennifer is the one who deserves all the credit. "The reason we call them the You books—we're not accusing. This is a little scary, but the reality is only you can do it. I can't do that for you. No one can do that for you," Dr. Oz says. "When you tell people in your life what you learned that changed you, that has real communication effect. That's how we change people's lives. So I want to thank you for changing a lot of people's lives today."
Do you accept Dr. Oz's third Prescription America challenge?

You've worked for two weeks on cutting out soda...and starting your dinner with a dose of whole grain bread and olive oil. Now, take a deep breath—it's time for your next Prescription America assignment.

For the next two weeks, simply take 10 deep breaths in the morning and another 10 in the evening. "Lie on your back. Put one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. As you inhale, push your stomach way out to the count of five," Dr. Oz says. "After five seconds, a comfortable breath should be held and then slowly exhale—again, letting your stomach come down really pushing your stomach down till your belly button hits your spine."

Making this a regular habit has three great health benefits. It makes your lungs and blood vessels function better, it helps with stress relief and also helps with the drainage of your lymphatic system—the system that removes toxins from your body.
James loves pretending to be Dr. Oz!

YouTube is home to some hilarious home movies, but none are as cute as one mom shot of her own little Dr. Oz-in-training! In the video, 5-year-old James puts on his scrubs and pretends to be Dr. Oz—and casts his little sister as Oprah!

Who could resist this pint-size physician? James gets to come to The Oprah Show to meet his idol! James' mom, Jennifer, says James never misses a Dr. Oz show. "As long as it's not too explicit, he watches," she says.

James says he wants to be like Dr. Oz when he grows up. "[I'd] like to be a research doctor when I grow up and I have, like, this real, real microscope at home," he says. "One time I looked at leaves to see, like, the big giant cells in it."
Dr. Oz discusses what he learned from Randy Pausch.

In October 2007, Dr. Oz introduced us to Randy Pausch, a popular professor at Carnegie Mellon University. When this husband and father of three learned he was dying of pancreatic cancer, Randy gave his "last lecture." It became an Internet sensation and was viewed by millions of people around the world.

Sadly, Randy lost his battle with cancer on July 25, 2008. He was 47. Randy died at home with his wife, Jay, and their three young children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe.

Dr. Oz stayed in touch with Randy and says he taught him something about his own patients. "I used to think hope was about giving people the belief that there was going to be a good outcome," he says. "But Randy taught me that it's more about making sense about what's happening in your life, and he emphasized this so beautifully that the most common comment I got from my patients, and many others, was that it allowed them to talk to their family members about big problems."

Watch viewers and students share the life lessons they learned from Randy. Watch

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As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.