X-ray images show a 4.5 kilogram tumor takes up most of the space of a woman's rib cage / PHOTO COURTESY OF VNEXPRESS
A woman is recovering after a five-hour-plus surgery on Apr. 17 during which doctors removed a 4.5-kilogram (nearly 10 lbs) tumor that may have grew in her chest for at least one and half years without her awareness.
Doctors at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City said Nguyen Thi Phuong, 41, had neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder of the nervous system that causes tumors to form on the nerves anywhere in the body at any time.
When Phuong, a resident in the Mekong Delta Province of Vinh Long, gave birth to her child six months ago, she did not know that she was carrying in her chest the tumor that was bigger than her child.
“I got two checks-up during my pregnancy, but the doctor did not mention any tumor,” she was quoted by the news website VnExpress as saying on Thursday.
It was not until she had difficulty breathing and talking two months ago that she came to Cho Ray Hospital for examination, and was informed of the tumor in her chest.
Dr. Vu Huu Vinh, head of the hospital’s chest surgery ward, told VnExpress that it was the largest neurofibroma they have ever removed.
It was also “extremely rare” because for most of patients, neurofibromas root from their spinal nerves, while Phuong got it from her right intercostals nerves, Vinh said.
According to the doctor, though benign, the tumor took up all the space of her rib cage, dislocating her windpipes, and blocking her right lung and heart.
Without the surgery, the patient would have faced high risks of fatality, but the operation was also difficult because the tumor was big and connected with many blood vessels, he said.
The tumor could have formed at least one and half years ago, and grown rapidly during her pregnancy, he said.
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