When Irianita Rojas was 8 years old, a cancerous tumor started growing in her abdomen. Now, 14 years later, the 35-pound mass has been removed from the Peruvian woman’s stomach.

Rojas, 22, is from an indigenous community in the northeastern part of Peru, Central European News (CEN) reported. The mass was so large that it caused Rojas to look as though she was pregnant since she was a teen, affected her breathing and caused her constant pain. Rojas was unable to attend school or work.

Her isolated Amazonian town, Tamshiyacu, provided little chance of the tumor being removed.

Then, Peruvian health minister Anibal Velasquez visited the town, heard Rojas’s story and immediately ordered his staff bring the woman to the capital, Lima, for surgery. Rojas was airlifted to Arzobispo Loayza Hospital, where she underwent the three-hour operation.

According to CEN, doctors are monitoring whether the cancer has spread but are hopeful they can treat her without surgery or chemotherapy.

Rojas hopes to study accounting after she recovers.

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