This Woman Had a 61-Pound Tumor Removed from Her Uterus
She finally went to the hospital when the mass made it difficult for her to breathe.
A woman in Singapore had a 61-pound tumor removed from her uterus after she finally visited the hospital because the weight of the growth had made her bedridden, according to a new report of the case.
Doctors at KK Women's and Children's Hospital successfully removed the uterine fibroid, also known as a leiomyoma, by performing a hysterectomy. They also had to extract the 53-year-old patient's ovaries. (Related: The Signs and Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids)
The tumor, according to Live Science, qualified as "giant" in medical terms because it was larger than 25 lbs. The ob-gyn who treated the woman, Poh Ting Lim, told the outlet that the mass was 26 inches across at its widest point. (Related: Woman Learns She Has 'Heart-Shaped Uterus' After Delivering Stillborn Son: 'It Seemed So Cruel')
Because of the size of the tumor, plastic surgeons also had to reconstruct the woman's abdominal wall, which had stretched and thinned to accommodate the growth. The woman also had trouble breathing for six months and was generally unable to move when she arrived at the hospital, said Dr. Lim, who also authored the report. (Read the personal story of a woman who had a melon-sized fibroid removed from her uterus.)
Uterine fibroids, a type of pelvic tumor, are most common in women during their child-bearing years, according to The Washington Post. While they're not cancerous, they can become life-threatening if they grow to a size where they might impede or deform other organs, like the lungs, in this woman's case. This usually only happens if they're left untreated.
Because uterine fibroids grow slowly-at a rate of about 9 percent every six months for women in their reproductive years-and they tend to shrink during menopause, Dr. Lim posited the tumor was in the patient's body for at least five years. The largest record of a fibroid in a living patient was 100 lbs. in the late 1800s, the report said.
It's unclear what exactly causes uterine fibroids, but genetic and hormonal shifts, especially in estrogen and progesterone, seem to play a substantial role, according to Mayo Clinic. They're also more common in women whose mother or sisters have had one. Many women have uterine fibroids at some point during their life but don't realize it because most don't experience symptoms. For those who do, heavy menstrual bleeding, long periods, pelvic pain, frequent urination, constipation and back, and leg pain are most common. (Related: Woman Born Without 2/3 of Her Vagina and No Uterus Speaks Out on Infertility: 'I Felt Alone')
Dr. Lim saw the patient two months after the surgery and told Live Science that her abdomen was healing well. The report also said that her scar had healed and she was able to move and breathe.
This story originally appeared on People.com by Maura Hohman.