A colossal 60-kilogram (132-pound) ovarian tumor was successfully removed from a 38-year-old Connecticut woman in February this year.
The tumor is one of the largest known ovarian tumors ever operated on. A surgical team of over 20 experts, led by gynecologic oncologist Dr Vaagn Andikyan, spent 5 hours removing the growth, along with her left ovary and the abdomen's excess skin that was stretched by the tumor.
“I might expect to see a 25-pound [11-kilogram] ovarian tumor, but a 132-pound [60-kilogram] tumor is very rare," Dr Andikyan said 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. I wanted to help her, and I knew that we could at Danbury Hospital.”
The woman knew something was up after rapidly gaining weight over a short period of time. Within just two months, the tumor blew up to approximately 1 meter (3.2 feet) in diameter, growing at a rate of 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) a week. Researchers at the hospital are now carrying out genetic tests on the tissue to find out why the tumor grew so quickly.
Time was of the essence when the woman’s problem first came to light. Although her mucinous ovarian tumor was later found to be benign and non-cancerous, it did pose a threat to her life because it was sitting on a major blood vessel, leading to concerns about her heart.
The team at Danbury Hospital wanted this woman’s case to raise awareness of ovarian tumors, a surprisingly common problem for women of all ages. There are many different forms of ovarian tumors, with some being cancerous. Typical symptoms include bloating, lower abdominal pain, loss of appetite, tiredness, and needing to pee more urgently than usual. If you have these symptoms for more than two weeks, you should see your doctor.
This type of growth is known as a mucinous ovarian tumor. They account for around 15 percent of all ovarian tumors and are notorious for being larger than other types of ovarian tumor. Although large in size (albeit not quite this large usually) they are found to be non-cancerous in the majority of cases.
Thanks to the incredible surgical work and aftercare at the hospital, the woman was able to return to her home within just two weeks of her operation, fighting fit once again.
"Luckily, she did not require any additional treatment," Andikyan 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.”