Hector Hernandez's belly began to grow about five years ago and, like many of us, he feared that his changing body would gain weight.
Yet despite a diet, her abdomen continued to grow. The rest of him remained thin.
Finally, in June of this year, the resident of Downey, California, sought medical help. After undergoing a scan, he was diagnosed with a type of cancerous tumor called retroperitoneal liposarcoma.
Dr. William Tseng, a Sarcoma expert and professor of surgical oncology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, quickly took charge of his case.
"Sarcoma is a complex disease," Tseng said in a USC press release. "There are 50 to 70 different subtypes, each unique, and they can grow anywhere in the body. Because of its complexity, you want to consult a sarcoma specialist who has a thorough knowledge of the disease. I was also fascinated by the fact that it was a very rare disease, so it did not attract much attention. Sarcomas account for only 1% of all cancers in adults. "
Liposarcomas are among the most important malignant tumors that can develop in the human body. The masses, which form from fat cells within the connective tissue, often reach 10 kg or more. Although they can occur in almost all areas of the body, liposarcomas are more common in the thigh and abdominal cavity. The term retroperitoneal refers to the location of the tumor on the outside and / or behind the peritoneum, the membrane located inside the abdomen that surrounds, connects, and supports many organs.
In July, Dr. Tseng withdrew Hernandez's mass during a complicated six-hour operation.
"You work around and on either side of the tumor," said Tseng. "You really have to think about the disease, the adjacent organs or vessels that you can safely remove, and what is best for the patient in terms of long-term outcomes and quality of life."
Total excised tumor tissue weighed 77 pounds. And after a week of recovery, Hernandez had lost 100 pounds, according to CBS News Los Angeles.
Cancer cells do not spread (about 90% of retroperitoneal liposarcomas never metastasize), Hernandez did not need chemotherapy or radiotherapy, but it will be necessary to monitor its tumor recurrence in the same region. Data collected from several studies show that patients who undergo complete resection of the primary tumor have an overall survival rate of 54 to 70%, but that 41 to 50% of these patients will present a recurrent mass instead in 5 years after the surgery.
To this day, Hernandez would be in good health and would appreciate his newly slender figure.
"It was very rewarding to see his pictures before and after and to see him again at the height that he had four or five years ago," Tseng said. "Being able to take it out safely and see it enjoy a good quality of life afterwards is a big thing."