Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more


jambstew Message
12 Feb 2009, 03:57 PM

How did you receive your diagnosis? My father was walking through a dermatologist's office when a doctor he didn't know stopped him with a question "Have you ever had a collapsed lung?" As he had, this got the conversation started. It is such a random story, I wonder how other people have been diagnosed and how the general lack of awareness of this disease affects people.
myrovlytistrust Message
23 Feb 2009, 10:13 AM

hi jambstew, a good place to get info and talk to people with BHD is the BHD Family Alliance -
myrovlytistrust Message
6 Apr 2009, 10:02 AM

a good place to get info and advice about living with BHD is the BHD Family Alliance ( formal diagnosis of BHD is difficult without a gene test. i agree with you about prevalence - doctors don't recognise it.
myrovlytistrust Message
7 Apr 2009, 09:28 AM

i don't have BHD. about the gene test: i'm not a medic so can't provide any medical advice or suggestions. the BHD Family Alliance might be able to help. my understanding is that: a) formal diagnosis requires the gene test; b) a few other conditions also have similar skin bumps. at the moment one can't change the fact of having BHD, but it carries an increased risk of kidney cancer, and is inherited, both of which have implications. i agree that it sucks. i reccomend the BHD Family Alliance - they have experience, and have contact with lots of BHD patients, in the US and internationally.
jambstew Message
7 Apr 2009, 12:34 PM

Steven, I am 26 and in the same boat, My father had the gene test and received the diagnosis. At his age and with a history of collapsed lung, he is obviously getting regular checks. The advice you received which says that there isn't much you can do at this point is in line with what I have heard. The way I look at it, it is worthwhile to stay on top of, but as the renal cancer risk is not generally seen until you are in your late 40's / 50's it is no reason to worry. I am not going to undertake a gene test for some time / maybe ever, as I know it is something I likely have and unless I learn otherwise, there is nothing outside a healthy lifestyle I can do about it. C'est la vie!
jambstew Message
13 Apr 2009, 12:12 PM

@Steven7 I do have fibrofolliculomas on my upper chest and forehead, they are pretty evident upon inspection but not overly problematic at this stage. It is def. passed down but I forget the details on exactly what the percentages were. We did a bit of a look back at my family and found that my paternal grandmother also exhibited symptoms (collapsed lung and fibrofolliclomas. I am not sure if BHD can 'skip' generations or not, would be interesting to know.
myrovlytistrust Message
14 Apr 2009, 08:33 AM

@Steven7 normally, someone with BHD must have at least one parent with BHD. it is technically possible that some has BHD due to a 'spontaneous mutation' that was not passed on by a parent, but i think this is very unlikely. different people with BHD often show different symptoms, so a parent and son/daughter might well have different symptoms. some people with BHD have no known symptoms.
myrovlytistrust Message
16 Apr 2009, 03:03 PM

hi, that sounds tough. i don't know the answers to your questions, i'm afraid. i recommend that you contact the BHD Family Alliance ( and talk to your doctor.
cathy Message
17 Apr 2009, 04:55 AM

Hello, I'm writing because my husband's family has BHD. BHD has changed our lives, but it hasn't disrupted our plans - just maybe made us think more about how we make choices and how we want to live our lives. People with BHD generally live a long time.They have found 80 & 90 year old people with BHD who had large kidney tumors and didn't even know it- they felt great. The majority of kidney cancers caused by BHD are slow growing and never spread outside the kidney. So far there are 11 identified members in our immediate family who have BHD. (Everyone had the gene test). My husband, brother-in-law, mother-in-law & nephew all have kidney cancer due to BHD. My niece has a spot on her kidney. The other 6, including my 2 children, have BHD, but no kidney symptoms have been found to date. Almost all have the skin bumps - fibrofolliculomas. A cousin (she would be #12) has had a collapsed lung. Everyone in our family has been able to go on with their plans, their vacations, their dreams, their jobs. We wouldn't have chosen to have BHD in the family, but we decided it isn't going to stop us. The idea is to manage your BHD so you can get on with the things you want to do. (Most BHD kidney cancer can be managed , too.) The first reactions we had were fear, anger, disbelief - then probably fear again - but now we have learned to live with it. It's a shock to be sure when you first find out, and it takes time to work out all the feelings. It's hard to believe that you get used to it, but you do. My mother-in-law retired from her part time job at age 75 to take care of my father-in-law, who is actually ill. They had to cut back on travel due to his disease, not hers. She had a kidney removed when she was 69, and has tumors growing in her other kidney. The gene test is, I think, really important. In our family, BHD comes from my mother-in-law's side of the family. Each of her children had a 50% chance of having BHD. Without the gene test, we would not know who needs to be followed & scanned. Not everyone with BHD gets kidney cancer, but so far we don't have any way to know who will and who won't. (Many families never even get the cancer.). Symptoms vary a lot. In our family one person has too many fibrofolliculomas to count, another has 5 and you have to look really hard to see them. Since BHD does put you at risk for kidney cancer, regular scans for the rest of your life are vital. CT scans and MRIs are the only reliable ways to find BHD kidney tumors and cysts. Ultrasound does not work for BHD tumors- it can miss them. If you know you do not have BHD, you do not need any kidney scans at all. So it's important to know for sure - and having the gene test is the only way to know. In our family, kidney cancer was found in my nephew at age 31. My niece, 29, has a spot on one kidney - it's too little to know what it is yet. People who have BHD should have kidney scans approx. every 2 years, starting at about age 21. BHD kidney cancer has been found in people in their 20's. The typical BHD kidney cancer is slow growing, so my nephew's tumor probably started to grow when he was in his 20's. The scan/MRI should show the abdomen and lungs. Normally you would not get x-rays on a regular basis. You should have blood and urine tests as well. If you ever develop cancer, the tests you need may change according to the treatment you may need. Having BHD does mean you should probably not scuba dive, or fly in small unpressurized planes, or do mountain climbing. It could be hard on the lungs, and a really large percentage of people with BHD have the tiny benign lung cysts that could cause a lung collapse. They are hardly ever serious if you do get them due to BHD. There are a lot of doctors who don't know about BHD, or who may have outdated information. When we first heard about BHD, we couldn't find much information. That's when we decided to start the Birt Hogg Dube Family Alliance. We wanted to help people who were in our situation. We've had lots of glitches , especially technical ones, in getting an organization started, but hopefully we are working through the final stages of that.
bpelton Message
5 Jun 2009, 02:05 AM

Cathy, Thank you for the information about BHD. Do you have any references about ultrasounds not being effective for detecting kidney cancer in BHD patients? A member of my family has BHD and our doctor recommend annual kidney ultrasounds. It would be great if we could point our doctor to a medical journal that indicated that this was not the best option. Thanks!
LemonadeMOM Message
30 Jan 2012, 04:15 PM

I am new to this site, but not new to BHD. My first pneumothorax Left(collapsed lung) was in 1976, a year before it was decribed in medical literature. It was surgically repaired after 100% collapse X3. In 1989, my R lung collapsed 100% X2, so it was surgically repaired. I did fine until 2008, when I took a bad fall and ripped the repair work loose. The cardiothoracic surgeons told me that it would be more dangerous to attempt a repair now, rather than use high flow O2 for the lung to re-inflate. Once, we develop loculated pneumothoracies, a normal x-ray is not sensitive enough to see them. In 2010, the ER did 4 x-ray, PA/Lateral, inspiratoy/expiratory views. They were all read as negative. It was only because I was so persistent that a CT was done; I had bilateral pneumothoracies. It was only after about 6-8 months of chaos, I was finally diagnosed with BHD. I have chased it through 5 generations of my father's family. My most recent MRI indicates cysts, 4 in each kidney and 1 in my liver.