Surgeon Who Removed Woman's 44lb Tumor Warns Against Ignoring Symptoms

A doctor has issued words of caution after a 44-pound tumor was removed from a woman's uterus in Italy.

The tumor, known as a uterine fibroid, measured nearly 40 centimeters in size, according to a report in Italian newspaper la Repubblica, which didn't give further details about the dimensions.

It was found in a 58-year-old woman who had surgery to remove her uterus. She also had to undergo surgery for the removal of a kidney tumor.

Professor Ettore Cicinelli led the gynecology and obstetrics team who helped to carry out the surgery at the Policlinico di Bari hospital in Italy. He said, according to la Repubblica: "A swelling of the belly, a rapid weight loss, the loss of blood: never underestimate these symptoms and do not minimize them."

Uterine fibroids are muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. They are almost always non-cancerous, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Office of Women's Health.

Uterine fibroids are most common in women aged between 30 and 40, but they can occur any time. They tend to be more common in African American women than in white, hispanic, or Asian women, according to MedlinePlus.

Symptoms may include changes in menstruation, pain in the abdomen or lower back, difficult or frequent urination, miscarriages and infertility, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states. Large ones can also cause swelling of the stomach area. Sometimes uterine fibroids have no symptoms at all.

Some medication can be used to treat symptoms associated with uterine fibroids, but they may not necessarily prevent their growth. Surgery may be needed to remove the fibroids.

Surgeries may take the form of a myomectomy, in which the uterus is left in place, or a hysterectomy, in which the uterus is removed. A hysterectomy is usually done when other treatments haven't worked, or if the fibroids are very large.

Fibroids Can Grow Very Large

Large uterine fibroids are not unheard of. Some can fill the entire uterus and weigh several pounds or kilograms.

In one case, outlined in an article in the BMJ Case Reports journal in 2018, doctors removed what was described as a "massive uterine mass" that weighed 61 lbs and included a fibroid that measured 64 by 50.5 by 15 centimeters.

The patient, a 53-year-old woman, had to have a hysterectomy in order to remove it.

Dr Poh Ting Lim of the KK Women's and Children's Hospital in Singapore, who led the case report, said the woman was in good health two months after the surgery and was healing well, according to LiveScience.

Uterus diagram
A file photo with the location of a uterus edited onto a woman. Growths called uterine fibroids may sometimes require surgical removal. mi-viri/Getty