Always (dis)trust your gut.
A New Jersey man was vindicated earlier this month when doctors removed a 13.6-kilogram (30-pound) tumor from his abdomen – months after he first insisted that something was wrong.
Kevin Daly, a 63-year-old Hoboken resident, had previously undergone open-heart surgery at Lennox Hill Hospital in 2015. According to this bizarre tale’s first report in the New York Daily News, Daly soon began a weight-loss regime in order to further improve his cardiovascular health.
Though he successfully shed more than 30 pounds, his belly did not go away.
“I thought they literally left stuffing and tools in me from surgery,” Daly told the news outlet.
But when he approached his physicians at the hospital, concerned, the medical professionals were skeptical that anything was amiss. After all, doctors are trained with the adage: "When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras", a reminder that patients’ symptoms are more commonly caused by an underlying mundane condition rather than a rare or exotic one.
So, an abdominal protrusion in an older man? Probably stubborn fat.
Thankfully, Mr Daly was not convinced by this explanation, and eventually, neither was Dr Varinder Singh, the hospital’s chief of cardiovascular medicine.
When he finally underwent a CAT scan, radiologists noted that the abdominal cavity was filled with an estimated 5.4-kilogram (12-pound) mass that was pushing against his organs.
Yet at the time of his removal operation in December, surgeon Dr Julio Teixeira was shocked to discover that the tumor was much, much larger, and had wrapped itself around one of Daly’s kidneys. The Daily News article states that the procedure took four hours, during which time two surgical residents were needed to hold the tumor up as Dr Teixeira excised it.
According to Live Science, Mr Daly’s tumor was diagnosed as a liposarcoma, a rare type of cancer that arises from mutated fat cells located deep (as opposed to close to the skin) in the abdomen or limbs. Abdominal liposarcomas typically develop in the retroperitoneum, the anatomical description of the space behind the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity. The kidneys, pancreas, and part of the intestine are located in the retroperitoneum – as is the adipose tissue deposit that forms what is colloquially referred to as “back fat”.
It is unclear where Mr Daly's tumor originated, and whether or not he needed to undergo any cancer treatment. As of earlier this month, however, he was reported to be doing well, with all his organs back in the correct spots.
[H/T: New York Daily News]