According to a story from the Washington Post, 47-year-old Hector Hernandez of Downey, CA, was subject to frequent jokes about his prominent stomach. Hector has always been a large man, so he more or less assumed that he was just overweight. But after he noticed that his belly seemed unusually hard to the touch while his arms and legs seemed to be losing mass, doctors discovered that he had a 77 pound retroperitoneal liposarcoma tumor.
Liposarcoma is a type of cancer that affects fat cells located in deep, soft tissue. They commonly appear in the inner thigh or retroperitoneum. Liposarcoma tumors can become quite large and bulky, and they often must attain significant size before other symptoms begin to appear. The cause of liposarcoma is not well understood. Aside from the tumor itself, liposarcomas can also cause weight loss, constipation, emaciation, kidney failure, and abdominal pain. Symptoms vary depending on the tumor’s location. There are several different types of liposarcoma. Treatment for this cancer almost always includes surgery to remove the tumor. This may be followed by chemotherapy or radiation. Five year survival varies from 56 percent to around 100 percent depending on the tumor type. Like other types of sarcoma, liposarcoma is very rare. It tends to occur most often in people who are middle aged or older. To learn more about liposarcoma, click here.
Hector says that he had trouble with heartburn, constipation, and catching his breath, but these symptoms probably aren’t that unusual for anyone that used to tip the scales at 300 pounds. The first time Hector ever mentioned his stomach to his doctor, he expressed little concern and said that everyone carries extra weight in a distinct way.
While this may be true, the hardness and heaviness of his stomach led Hector to seek a second opinion. Hector has since had the tumor surgically removed, but even so, the entire experience was a bit baffling. Hector says that was relieved to discover the truth about his unusually prominent stomach.
Thankfully, the operation went off with out any major problems, and while Hector is not exactly 100 percent better yet, he should be able to move and breathe much more easily without a 77 pound tumor weighing him down.