Hector Hernandez thought he was "fat". Then he received some shocking news: What he considered stomach fat was indeed a 77-pound cancerous tumor.
"I just thought I was fat," said Hernandez of Downey, California. "I've always been a big guy, so I was not really worried."
Hernandez told NBC4 that he would get a lot of publicity because of his big belly in public, which led him to stop using the Metro.
"I always wore big jackets, I got on the subway, and a policeman came in, knocked on my jacket and asked me what I got in my jacket," Hernandez said. "He just looked at [my stomach] and somehow felt bad and walked away."
Hernandez began to exercise and started losing weight all over his body ̵
"I knew something was wrong," he said.
Editor's Note: A picture of the removed tumor is at the end of this article. The following program contains scenes that may offend your moral sense.
At that time, Hernandez had high blood pressure, shortness of breath and diabetes. His doctor did an ultrasound scan, did a CT scan and blood tests to find out what Hernandez had. Despite all the tests, it was still not clear what was wrong.
His local doctor referred him to the surgical oncologist dr. William Tseng of Keck Medicine in USC.
Dr. Tseng told Hernandez that it was not gaining weight. In fact, he had a retroperitoneal liposarcoma, a rare cancer that was formed in fat cells.
"We do not know what's causing it," Tseng said. "It has nothing to do with obesity."
He added that it can happen to anyone.
Tseng is one of the few people who has specialized in the treatment of sarcomas and said that this type of rare cancer can actually develop throughout the body and does not occur with specific symptoms.
Hernandez & # 39; tumor was in the back of the abdomen, Tseng said. He explained that because the body was at that particular location, it adapted to growth. It was able to grow to such a size without the patient noticing, because from the outside it looks like the stomach is bloated or, as Hernandez thought, it just looks like a weight gain.
Tseng added that the doctors are. If you do not specialize in this area, you can misdiagnose the tumor or even miss it altogether.
The surgical oncologist regularly encounters this type of tumor and says Hernandez is nothing out of the ordinary. But it was "definitely the biggest one" he had encountered.
The removal of the 77-pound tumor required a six-hour operation in which Hernadez's kidney had to be removed because Tseng could not separate it from the tumor.
Well, Hernandez says he feels safer.
"I'm glad my arms are back, my shoulders are back, my face is plump, I just could not be happier," he said, adding When he started exercising and losing weight, his was Body not proportional.
Hernandez must receive CT scans every four months and must be examined regularly.
"Although we got it all out, statistically it will come back sometime in its life," Tseng said.
The Sarcoma The specialist told NBC4 that he is reappearing for the vast majority of patients.
"Because the tumors are so big, you really can not get rid of the microscopic disease – there's no way to get all the cells out of the body," he explained.
If you want to contribute to Hernandez's treatment costs, you can do so here on his GoFundMe account.