Woman’s Brain Tumor Turns Out to be a Baby Tapeworm


  • Rachel Palma began noticing changes in her body early last year. She was having nightmares, hallucinations, insomnia. and her right hand would suddenly drop things.
  • An MRI scan of her head showed a lesion on the left side of her brain, suggesting a malignant brain tumor.
  • A neurosurgeon opened her skull during surgery last fall and found “a baby tapeworm came out of that lesion.”

Rachel Palma of Middletown, New York began noticing something wrong in her body in January 2018. The 42-year-old said she started having hallucinations, nightmares and insomnia, In addition, she would also forget words, her right hand would drop things all of a sudden and try to call people who were already dead or nonexistent.

“My episodes were getting more and more bizarre,” Palma told the “Today” show. “There were days that I didn’t know where I was.”

She went to urgent care several times. After an MRI scan of her head, doctors spotted a lesion on the left side of her brain — the part that controls language and behavior in right-handed people.

Believed to be a malignant brain tumor, neurosurgeons at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City advised Palma that she would need surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

“My husband and I were both in shock and we just wanted it taken care of,” she said.

In September, Palma scheduled surgery with Dr. Jonathan Rasouli, chief neurosurgery resident at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, but instead of finding a typical brain tumor, doctors discovered “this very thin, very well encapsulated thing. It looked like a quail egg.”

The doctors removed it in one piece and checked what’s inside.

“Sure enough, a baby tapeworm came out of that lesion,” Rasouli said.

It may be disgusting but it was good news, the doctors assured.

“We were, like, cheering and clapping,”  Rasouli told WABC. “When we got in there and saw that it was a tapeworm, we were like, ‘Yes!’ We were so happy!”

The doctors explained parasites are typically removed using antibiotics, but discovering the lesion was not a malignant tumor made it that much easier to treat.

“The good news is I don’t have cancer,” Palma said.

She said hasn’t traveled to any countries where parasites may be common and hasn’t eaten raw pork that’s why doctors can’t determine where she may have picked it up.


Source: Inside Edition

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