WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A man from California thought his unusually big belly was caused by too much fat.
- However, it was found to be a tumor as heavy as a 10-year-old child.
- The patient, Hector Hernandez was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called liposarcoma.
Hector Hernandez has always considered himself a big guy. Hoping to lose weight, he went on a plant-based diet. Though he lost weight everywhere, there was one problem —his big ‘beer belly’.
“I was basically like a thin person who’s got a huge belly,” Hernandez told USA TODAY in an interview.
The 47-year-old California resident related that during a visit to his doctor in 2006, although the doctor noted the unusual size of his stomach, he told him that all his weight just went straight to his stomach. Hernandez added that the doctor also said that because people gain weight differently, his case was not unusual.
However, when Hernandez changed his insurance and was diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes, he decided to go for another checkup. The moment the doctor saw him, it was clear that something was wrong.
Without introducing himself, he touched Hernandez’ stomach and said, “Oh my God, how long have you been like that?”
Hernandez was diagnosed with liposarcoma, a rare type of cancer starting in the fat cells. Essentially, it’s fat cancer, according to Dr. William Tseng, MD, a sarcoma expert at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and Hernandez’ surgeon.
Generally, sarcomas make up one percent of all cancers, with liposarcoma constituting a subset of those tumors. Tseng added that the symptoms of sarcomas usually don’t appear severe, which poses complications in dealing with this type of cancer. Another is how connected the sarcoma is to the other parts of the body.
He said, “over the course of time, the organs get pushed out of the way, or the tumor surrounds the organs but doesn’t necessarily invade them.”
Hernandez noted that he suffered heartburn and shortness of breath, although didn’t think anything unusual about it.
In July, Hernandez underwent a 6-hour surgery, where a 77-pound tumor, about the size of a 10-year-old child, was removed from the back of his abdomen. Since the surgery, both his heartburn and high blood pressure have disappeared and he said he is ‘much healthier’ now.
“There’s so much I can do now that I couldn’t do before. I feel like a different person,” said Hernandez.
To make sure the tumor doesn’t return, he needs to return for follow up CT scans every four months for a few years. Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page was set up to help pay for his medical bills.
Source: USA Today