Woman had a five-stone tumour removed from her ovaries

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A woman has had a giant tumour weighing more than five stone removed from her ovaries in a life-saving operation.

Sonia Lopez, 57, from Costa Rica, put off the procedure for eight years due to ‘personal reasons’ but was eventually forced to go under the knife when the growth took up 80 per cent of her abdomen and was crushing her intestines, liver and diaphragm. 


Mrs Lopez, who has dropped six stone since having the tumour removed, was warned nearly a decade ago the growth could cause her to have a heart attack due to the pressure it was putting on the organ.

After suffering breathing problems, she had the operation at Hospital Mexico near San Jose on Monday, which involved five surgeons removing the 5.35 stone, five-and-half feet round growth.

Mrs Lopez, whose surgeon believes she broke a world record, is recovering well and awaiting results to determine if the growth is cancerous.

A woman has had a giant tumour weighing over five stone removed in a life-saving operation

Sonia Lopez (pictured after the procedure) was forced to go under the knife when the growth took up 80 per cent of her abdomen and was crushing her intestines, liver and diaphragm

Sonia Lopez (pictured after the procedure) was forced to go under the knife when the growth took up 80 per cent of her abdomen and was crushing her intestines, liver and diaphragm

The surgery involved five staff to remove the 5.35 stone, five-and-half feet round growth

The surgery involved five staff to remove the 5.35 stone, five-and-half feet round growth

Surgeon Pablo Sibaja believes it is a world-record breaker. It's unclear if the tumour is benign

Surgeon Pablo Sibaja believes it is a world-record breaker. It’s unclear if the tumour is benign

WHAT ARE TUMOURS?

Tumours can be benign or cancerous (malignant).

Benign tumours usually grow quite slowly, do not spread and have a covering made up of normal cells.

Such growths only cause problems if:

  • They become become very large
  • Are painful or uncomfortable
  • Are unpleasant to look at
  • Press on the body’s organs
  • Take up space within the skull
  • Release hormones that affect how the body works

Malignant tumours typically:

  • Are made up of cancer cells
  • Grow faster
  • Spread to surrounding tissue
  • Enter other parts of the body via the bloodstream or lymph nodes

Tumours get bigger as cells continue to divide, which stimulates the development of blood vessels to ‘feed’ it oxygen and nutrients.

Such growths may move into new areas by putting pressure on surrounding regions, using enzymes to break down cells or entering via tissues.

Source: Cancer Research UK 

‘I feel like I’ve been born again’     

Mrs Lopez, who lives in the town of Tibas, said: ‘I was very tired and felt very ill beforehand.

‘From how I felt before to the way I feel now, it’s like a journey from the sun to the Earth. I feel like I’ve been born again.’ 

Mrs Lopez was advised by doctors to have an immediate operation after she sought medical advice for breathlessness.

She previously weighed 20 stone, making her too large doctors for doctors to take a CAT scan or clear X-rays when she was admitted to hospital last Thursday.

World record-breaking size  

Mrs Lopez’s surgeon Pablo Sibaja said: ‘We see three or four giant tumours every year but never something this big.

‘This is the largest we know about in Mesoamerica. In the Guinness Book of Records the heaviest on record is 30 kilos (4.72 stone) and this one was 34 kilos (5.35 stone).’   

‘This tumour grew in such a disordered and rapid fashion in such a short space of time that we had to act quickly.

‘These tumours that grow so fast are not normally malignant because if they were they would metastasize and they either need to be treated to eliminate or reduce them or they kill the patient before they have the capacity to grow so much.’ 

Mr Sibaja added giant tumours are much more common in women because their bodies are designed to carry more weight in their abdomens than men.

He said: ‘In a man it doesn’t happen. No tumour would grow as large because his body is not capable of developing it.’ 

A spokesman for the Costa Rican Social Security Service, which tweeted pictures of the tumour after it had been removed, described the procedure as ‘incredible’.  





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