A 62-year-old New Jersey man’s previously thought belly fat turned out to be a 30-pound cancerous tumor that was growing in his abdomen. Kevin Daly, a former athlete, was confused when his stomach became bigger and bigger, but later was shocked to learn about the tumor.
Daly said he first noticed the belly growth after he underwent a heart surgery for a calcified valve in Dec. 2015. Many people told him that his belly fat could also be a “beer belly,” but Daly disagreed as he did not have beer.
“I came home a week after the surgery, and I looked in the mirror for the first time and I was all upset,” Daly, 63, told People magazine. “This thing was growing, but my shoulders and chest had atrophied from the surgery, so it made my stomach protrude more. I brought it to the attention of my doctor, but [any] doctor would say the same thing — you’re in your 60’s, low testosterone, visceral fat. You’re fine; it’s just how it is.”
Doctors suggested that Daly get into a weight loss regimen that may help with the belly fat. However, when he returned to the doctors in 2017, they suggested he get an abdominal cat scan, which showed a massive growth.
“For a second I was vindicated, and then I was completely panicked, because when a doctor says that you have an extremely large mass, you assume that you have a cancerous tumor growing in your stomach,” Daly said. “Am I going to live, am I going to die, am I going to suffer?”
The New Jersey financial planner was later diagnosed with liposarcoma, a rare form of cancer that develops in the fat cells of the soft tissues.
Daly underwent a tumor removal surgery on Dec.28 and the procedure took six hours. According to a WCBS report, the tumor was a low-grade, fatty cancer that had wrapped around an organ. To make sure that the tumor was completely removed from the body, doctors also had to remove a kidney.
“It was the largest tumor I’ve removed. It was a very challenging operation,” Dr Julio Teixeira who was Daly’s surgeon, said in a statement. “Because of the tumor size, there were organs out of position. It’s one thing to see the picture. It’s another thing to actually have it in your hands.”
“It’s important that people listen to their bodies, and are in tune with their bodies, because often, your instincts are right,” Teixeria reportedly said. “If you have a sudden weight loss, or a lack of appetite, or a loss of energy, or if you see an abnormal asymmetry with your body, those are things that you should bring to the attention of your doctor.”
Liposarcoma symptoms depend on which part of the body it affects. For those that form in the arms and legs, symptoms include a growing lump of tissue under the skin, pain, swelling and weakness of limb that is affected. For liposarcoma formed in the abdomen, symptoms include abdominal pain, swelling, feeling full sooner when eating, constipation and blood in the stool.
It remains unclear what causes liposarcoma. However, sometimes the tumor is noticed after experiencing an injury.