Irianita Rojas, 22, looked as if she was pregnant. However, the true cause of her protruding stomach was much more disturbing: She had a massive ovarian tumor.
Doctors at the the Archbishop Loayza National Hospital in Lima, Peru, have finally granted Rojas some relief by performing a 3-hour operation to remove the 35.3-pound mass in her abdomen, CNN reported. The tumor has reportedly been growing inside Rojas since she was 13 years old.
Rojas lives in a remote town in a Peruvian jungle, but her life was changed thanks to a chance encounter with Anibal Velasquez Valdivia, Peru's health minister, who visited her home town in Tamshiyacu to monitor progress on a health center. Velasquez Valdivia flew Rojas and her mother, Karina Rasma, to Lima on Feb. 16 so Rojas could receive the medical care she needed, according to a translated version of the health ministry's press release.
Rojas’ tumor turned out to be malignant, but the surgery was successful.
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"Irianita is recovering and can be released, but she will stay in Lima for a few more days to so that we can practice additional exams to define the treatment she should follow when she returns to (the province of) Loreto," Dr. Luis Garcia Bernal, the hospital director, said in the press release.
Health officials said the tumor had been an increasing burden on Rojas. She was constantly in pain and struggled to walk and breathe, so she dropped out of school.
"I never thought I would be operated on," Rojas said in the statement. "I'm happy now because I'm recovering and I will be able to fulfill my dream of studying accounting.”
Rasma was also grateful for the intervention on her daughter’s behalf and thanked the doctors for giving her daughter “a new life.”