2.03 m Vietnamese to have gland tumor removed to cure gigantism

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A doctor at Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City measures the height of D.T.D., who has been diagnosed with gigantism due to a pituitary gland tumor.

A 21-year-old man in southern Vietnam suffering from gigantism is awaiting surgery next week as doctors said his condition can cause severe medical complications.

D.T.D. of Dong Nai Province is 2.03 meters tall, and was the first to be diagnosed with gigantism at the Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Dr Tran Quang Khanh, head of the hospital's endocrinology department, was quoted as saying by Tuoi Tre newspaper.

D. was admitted on June 15, and, besides his abnormal height, doctors also noticed his prominent jaw, a classic symptom of gigantism.

Khanh said the disease is mostly caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland, a small gland at the base of the brain that produces hormones influencing the growth of the bone structure.

If not discovered and treated early, the condition can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis, he warned.

"Symptoms of gigantism are rather vague, so it is hard to diagnose until there are complications with the growth of bones and increasing height."

D. said he only used to be a little taller than his friends, but opened up a gap on them from grade seven.

By 18 he had shot up to 1.9 meters, and was dubbed by his friends as "Peter Crouch," an English football player who was 2.01 meters tall. But he continued to grow.

"Peter Crouch is [now] shorter than me," he told Tuoi Tre.

But the young man is not exactly proud of it.

"I'm embarrassed whenever someone looks at me.

"I have never gone far from my house,since I am afraid that more people would see me."

D. said he is afraid of big gatherings since he is the first to be noticed.

He faces a lot of inconveniences in daily life: He has to sleep along the diagonal of the bed instead of its length and few clothes available in the local markets suit him, with those that do usually being unaffordable for his farmer parents.

D., who is in university, was resigned to his fate until his brother read about a Chinese with a similar condition who was cured.

Neurologists at the hospital will operate on him to remove his brain tumor.

The growth is less than 10 millimeters in diameter, Khanh said, so the chance of success is around 97 percent.

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