By Paul Ingram
TUCSON Ariz. (Reuters) - An Arizona woman was recovering at home on Wednesday after having a 47.5-pound (21.5 kg) tumor removed from her abdomen during life-saving surgery, doctors said.
The University of Arizona Medical Center surgeons worked for 10 hours to remove the massive liposarcoma, a cancer in the abdominal muscle, that had invaded Marcey DiCaro's inferior vena cava – the body's largest vein. DiCaro stopped breathing and her heart stopped during the surgery.
"If the tumor had been let go, it would have killed me," DiCaro, of Tucson, said in a statement. "I'm happy to be going on walks and getting back in the pool and getting out and enjoying life."
In 2011, DiCaro noticed that her belly was getting bigger and she felt some transient pain, the hospital said. She had a scan In March 2012 that revealed a tumor but she lacked health insurance.
The hospital canceled surgery slated for 2013 because her insurance company would only pay for a small portion of the full costs, DiCaro said.
The hospital said DiCaro was able to get insurance that would cover pre-existing conditions this year because of a provision in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform law. She underwent surgery on April 17.
The tumor had also enveloped her kidney requiring removal during surgery, along with her gallbladder.
(Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Paul Tait)