Woman Has 'Giant' Tumor the Size of a 4-Month-Old Baby Removed From Her Stomach

Surgeons have removed a "giant" tumor the size of a 4-and-a-half-month-old baby from a woman's stomach. The patient later had her entire stomach removed after she continued suffering from symptoms the first procedure was meant to treat.

The unnamed 70-year-old woman from the U.K. had a rare cancer called a giant gastric gastrointestinal stromal tumor, according to a case study published in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

Before the operation, the woman complained of a swollen abdomen, feeling nauseous after eating and losing weight without trying.

When the surgeons cut the woman open, they discovered a "giant mass" weighing 6.1kg or around the average weight of a female 4-and-a-half-month-old baby. The tumor was on the bottom half of the woman's stomach.

About two months after the surgery, the woman was suffering from a swollen abdomen again and was vomiting. To investigate, doctors passed a camera down her throat and into her stomach. They found her stomach was dilated and filled with food residue.

The woman was diagnosed with gastroparesis, in which the stomach cannot empty itself of food in the usual way because the nerves and muscles in the organ are damaged and partially paralysed.

BMJ case reports, tumor,
The patient during the procedure to remove her tumor weighing 6.1kg. BMJ Case Reports 2020

After 10 days of treatment, the symptoms did not disappear and her doctors decided a total gastrectomy was the best treatment. This operation involves removing the entire stomach, as well as lymph nodes, portions of the esophagus and small intestine. So the patient can still eat, surgeons connect the esophagus to the small intestine.

A total gastrectomy is a life-changing procedure that often means a person loses their desire to eat for some time. It can take up to two years for the body to adjust to not having a stomach. Initially, patients are advised to eat six to eight small meals a day. This can lead to patients losing up to 20 percent of their body weight up to six months after the operation.

The woman in the BMJ study made a full recovery after her stomach was removed and, after six months, there was no sign her cancer had returned.

The woman said that about eight months after her stomach was removed, she was eating a little more but sometimes had no appetite.

"I am able to do more activities and walking for longer now. I feel better in myself," she said.

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A stock image shows surgeons performing an operation. A woman had a 6.1kg tumor removed from her stomach after she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Getty