**WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES**
Surgeons from the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson successfully removed a 47-pound tumor from a woman’s stomach, hospital officials said.
The procedure took 10 hours to complete, and the patient, Marcey DiCaro, suffered a heart attack during the surgery. Fortunately, doctors were able to keep her alive throughout the operation.
According to a news release, DiCaro underwent a scan in March 2012 that revealed the large growth. She was originally scheduled to undergo surgery in 2013, but her operation was cancelled the night before due to problems with her health insurance. Then in 2014, DiCaro was able to obtain proper insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act and finally underwent surgery on April 17.
By that point, the tumor had grown massive, invading Dicaro’s inferior vena cava – the vein that carries blood from the body back to the heart and kidney.
“Because the tumor had been pressing on the vena cava, it created a blood clot in the vein,” said Dr. Tun Jie, interim chief of the division of abdominal transplant surgery at the University of Arizona Medical Center. “The surgery was quite challenging. This was a situation that was not easy to tackle and not all surgeons would have gone forward with it.”
Doctors said that one of DiCaro’s kidneys also had to be removed, as it had been completely encased by the tumor. They noted that if DiCaro had waited any longer, the tumor would have grown larger and targeted other vital organs, ultimately proving fatal.
"If the tumor had been let go, it would have killed me," DiCaro said. "The whole team approach was wonderful. I'm happy to be going on walks and getting back in the pool and getting out and enjoying life."