Over the course of just two months, a 38-year-old woman suddenly developed a 132-lb. tumor in her ovaries.
The Connecticut mom underwent surgery at Danbury Hospital in February to remove the painful, fast-growing tumor that had swelled to be three feet wide after going up an additional 10 lbs. each week.
“When I first walked into the examination room, I found this 38-year-old malnourished patient with a weight of 350 pounds and an extensive tumor that was about 100 centimeters [39 inches] large. I saw fear in the patient’s eyes. She was so hopeless, because she had seen several other doctors, and they were unable to help her,” the patient’s doctor, gynecologic oncologist Vaagn Andikyan told CNN. “Her legs were so swollen that she was unable to walk. I’ve seen leg swelling, but I’ve never seen leg swelling of this magnitude.”
Dr. Andikyan told Time that he put an extra level of care into the surgery, and prepared a group of 25 workers — from surgeons to nurses to anesthesiologists — for the treatment.
“I was very cautious. Nobody wants their patient to have a negative outcome,” Dr. Andikyan said. “What gave me a second wind was that we wanted to help the patient. When you have this internal feeling that you’re helping, positive thinking helps you to achieve your goal.”
And the five-hour surgery — where doctors removed the tumor and reconstructed her abdomen — exceeded his expectations, Dr. Andikyan said. They managed to remove the tumor while leaving her uterus, one ovary and most of her fallopian tubes intact, which means she still has the possibility of getting pregnant again and will not go into early menopause.
Though the tumor turned out to be benign, Dr. Andikyan said the patient could have died if they had waited just a week or two more to perform the surgery. Instead, she should fully recover.
“Luckily, she did not require any additional treatment,” he told CNN. “She’s back to a normal life, she’s back to work, and when I saw her in my office, I saw smiles, I saw hope, and I saw a happy woman who is back to her normal life and her family.”
Though this tumor was rare and extreme in size — doctors estimate it was one of the top 10 or 20 largest ever removed worldwide — they advise that women see a doctor if they have any odd pains.
“If there’s any complaining about stomach fullness or discomfort or indigestion, it’s really important to bring it to the attention of your doctor or health care provider,” Dr. Linus Chuang, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology for Western Connecticut Health Network, said.