California man’s beer belly turns out to be 77-lb. tumour

Hector Hernandez’ friends teased him about his round beer belly, but the California man never drank beer.

He was exercising but didn’t seem to be losing any of his belly fat – although his arms were getting thinner.

“I just thought I was fat,” Hernandez told the New York Times. “I’ve always been a big guy.”

Hector Hernandez before the operation to remove his tumour.

His stomach was also hard, not soft, to the touch. That’s when his family told him to go to the doctor.

It turns out it wasn’t a beer belly at all, but a massive 77-pound tumour, roughly the weight of an average 10-year-old boy, according to a press release from the University of Southern California.

Hernandez was diagnosed with retroperitoneal liposarcoma – a cancer that starts in the fat cells at the back of the abdomen. According to Sarcoma UK, symptoms can include a noticeable lump in the abdomen, an increase in abdominal girth, dull pain in the abdomen or back, or intense abdominal pain with bleeding.

After a six-hour operation in July, Dr. William Tseng of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California was able to remove the tumour.

Hector Hernandez after his tumour was removed.


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“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 a press release. “To be able to take it out safely and see him enjoy a good quality of life after, that’s a big thing.”

Hernandez told the New York Times that he feels great after the operation.

This isn’t the first big tumour Tseng has tackled — according to the USC press release, he removes a 30-pound tumour roughly every other week. According to the Guinness World Records, the largest-ever tumour removed intact was a multicystic mass of the right ovary that weighed 306 pounds (138.7 kilograms) and had a one-metre diameter.

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