Earlier this year, a team of doctors in Connecticut removed an 132-pound mucinous ovarian tumor from a 38-year-old woman—one of the largest operations on record of this type of tumor.
According to the Western Connecticut Health Network, the woman (who is choosing to remain anonymous), first noticed something was off at the end of last year. Alarmed by sudden, rapid weight gain in her abdomen—she was growing by about 10 pounds each week—she scheduled an appointment with her gynecologist, who identified her tumor with a CT scan. She was referred to Danbury Hospital and operated on in a five-hour surgery this past February.
“I might expect to see a 25-pound ovarian tumor, but a 132-pound tumor is very rare,” said lead surgeon Vaagn Andikyan, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at Danbury Hospital, in a statement. “When I met the patient, she was extremely malnourished because the tumor was sitting on her digestive tract, and she used a wheelchair because of the tumor’s weight.”
Dr. Andikyan and his team suspected the tumor was benign, but that didn’t make the surgery any less challenging; the mass was situated near an important blood vessel, so there were concerns about how the operation might affect her heart.
“There were a lot of issues related to this very large tumor in the abdomen,” Linus Chuang, MD, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology for Western Connecticut Health Network, explained to CNN. “She can’t eat, she can’t walk, and there are problems related to potential complications with this large mass compressing the venous system. She was at very high risk of developing blood clots because of compression of the blood flow.”
Although complicated, the surgery was a success. The medical team simultaneously removed the tumor and reconstructed the skin on her abdomen that had been stretched by the mass, minimizing the number of times she needed to go under the knife. She was able to leave the hospital two weeks later, and is now back at work and feeling well.
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Although this tumor was thankfully benign, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of ovarian cancer—especially since most signs of the illness aren’t as obvious as a large, fast-growing mass. If you’re bleeding irregularly, experiencing painful cramps, and have back pain, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist right away. Bloating that doesn’t go away and is accompanied by pain or changes in your bathroom habits could also be a sign of something more serious.
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