Hector Hernandez, pictured before the surgery, had the 77-pound cancerous mass removed in July. (Courtesy Hector Hernandez/HSC News)
A California man who for years heard friends tease him about his “beer belly” even though he didn’t drink is now more than a 100 pounds lighter after discovering over the summer that the extra weight was actually a massive cancerous tumor. Hector Hernandez, who sought help in July, knew something was wrong because, while his stomach continued to grow, his legs and arms were getting thinner, CBS Los Angeles reported.
His family urged him to seek help and, when he finally did, a CT scan revealed the massive tumor, later identified as a retroperitoneal liposarcoma, which is cancer that starts in the fat cells in the abdomen, according to a HSC news release.
Hernandez's surgeon, William Tseng, a sarcoma expert and associate professor of clinical surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, said the 77-pound tumor was the largest he’s ever removed in his career.
Hernandez, pictured after the surgery, dropped more than 100 pounds in just one week. (Courtesy Hector Hernandez/HSC News)
“It’s standard in surgical oncology to take a cancerous mass out whole, but a large tumor will almost certainly be in contact with other important organs and sometimes major blood vessels,” Tseng said, in an HSC news announcement. “The question then becomes whether these also need to be removed.”
The surgery took six hours, and just one week later, Hernandez weighed over 100 pounds lighter.
“It was very gratifying to see his before and after photos and see him back at the size he was four or five years ago,” Tseng said, in the news release. “To be able to take it out safely and see him enjoy a good quality of life after, that’s a big thing.”