Tucson woman has nearly 50-pound tumor removed from abdomen

By Amanda Holtzer,

Marcey DiCaro of Tucson, Arizona had a 47.5-pound tumor removed from her abdomen. She was able to go home Wednesday, and has been recovering from the life-saving surgery.

The surgery was performed at the University of Arizona Medical Center. Marcey’s tumor was a massive liposarcoma, a cancer in the abdominal muscle. The cancerous tumor had invaded her kidney and inferior vena cava, the body’s largest vein.

The high-risk procedure to remove the tumor lasted 10 hours. The surgery was performed by Dr. Tun Jie, interim chief of the Division of Abdominal Transplant Surgery in the University of Arizona Department of Surgery. He was joined by a team including Dr. Angela Echeverria, general surgery chief resident.

"After we dissected the tumor off the inferior vena cava, it looked like Swiss Cheese," Dr. Echeverria said in a statement, notes The Arizona Daily Star. "There were so many holes in it due to tumor invasion. We took that segment out and reconstructed a new inferior vena cava."

DiCaro stopped breathing, and her heart stopped during the surgery. "If the tumor had been let go, it would have killed me," she said in a release, Reuters noted.

A 2012 scan revealed the tumor in DiCaro’s stomach, after she had been feeling some transient pain. She was scheduled for surgery in 2013, but it was canceled because her insurance company would only pay for a portion of the cost. Due to President Barack Obama’s approval of a provision to the 2010 Affordable Care Act, she became eligible for the surgery this year.

DiCaro is currently home and recovering. "I’m happy to be going on walks and getting back in the pool and getting out and enjoying life," she said.

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