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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 January, 2004, 10:44 GMT
Giant tumour removed from woman
Lucica Bunghez after her operation
A Romanian woman has had a giant tumour the weight of a person removed in a marathon operation.

The tumour weighed 80 kilograms (176 pounds) - twice as much as Lucica Bunghez now weighs without it.

The 47-year-old suffers from a genetic disorder which causes tumours to grow on her body.

The largest tumour ever to be removed is believed to have weighed 137kg - 302 pounds, according to Guinness World Records.

Rare disease

US surgeons, nurses and anaesthetists travelled to Romania to perform the 10 hour marathon operation at Bucharest's Floreasca Hospital.

The team, led by Dr McKay McKinnon, a reconstructive surgeon from the University of Chicago, offered their services for free after the Romanian government could not afford the US$300,000 it would cost to send Ms Bunghez to the US for the operation.

The tumour - which weighed just under 12 and a half stone - covered most of her back and ran halfway down her thighs.

After the operation, Romanian doctor Ion Lascar, who was part of the surgical team, joked that the lack of tumour "really suited her".

Ms Bunghez, a former cake seller from the Transylvanian city of Brasov, Bunghez, suffers from the rare genetic disease Von Recklinghausen's Disease.

The tumour initially appeared as a small lump when she was 22.

It was removed when it had reached 15 kg (33 lb) but it then reappeared and grew even bigger.

She has been bedridden and unable to care for herself for three years due to the growing tumour, which absorbed blood and nutrients like a giant parasite.

Doctors had warned there was a risk of massive haemorrhaging when the tumour was cut away from the body.

The team also operated on a 19-year-old Romanian woman who was suffering from a facial tumour caused by a similar condition.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Alison Smith
"A team of doctors from Chicago offered their services for free"



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