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47-pound tumor removed from Tucson woman

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Hospital officials say despite suffering cardiac arrest during the procedure, the team of surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses brought Marcey DiCaro successfully through the surgery. Hospital officials say despite suffering cardiac arrest during the procedure, the team of surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses brought Marcey DiCaro successfully through the surgery.
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WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS AND CONTENT

TUCSON, Ariz. -- University of Arizona Medical Center officials say during a complex, 10-hour operation, surgeons successfully removed a 47-pound tumor from a woman named Marcey DiCaro.

In a news release, the medical center stated, "DiCaro, who had no health insurance at the time of diagnosis, had a scan that revealed a large tumor in March 2012. With preexisting conditions, finding insurance was very difficult, but DiCaro eventually found a plan she thought would cover the procedure. Surgery was scheduled in 2013, but her operation was cancelled the night before because of more issues with her insurance coverage. Finally, in 2014, DiCaro was able to acquire insurance coverage that would cover preexisting conditions through the Affordable Care Act. She underwent surgery April 17. By then, surgery had become more complicated with the growth of the tumor and the involvement of other organs."

Surgeons found that the tumor invaded DiCaro's inferior vena cava -- the vein which carries blood from the body back to the heart and her kidney.

DiCaro suffered cardiac arrest during the surgery.

“Because the tumor had been pressing on the vena cava, it created a blood clot in the vein,” said Tun Jie, MD, interim chief of the Division of Abdominal Transplant Surgery in the UA Department of Surgery. “The surgery was quite challenging. This was a situation that was not easy to tackle and not all surgeons would have gone forward with it.”

“After we dissected the tumor off the inferior vena cava, it looked like Swiss cheese,” said general surgery chief resident Dr. Angela Echeverria. “There were so many holes in it due to tumor invasion. We took that segment out and reconstructed a new inferior vena cava.”

Echeverria said one of DiCaro's kidneys was also encased by the tumor and removed.

“If the tumor had been let go, it would have killed me,” DiCaro said. “I am grateful for insurance and I was immensely happy with my care. I felt great confidence in Dr. Jie’s abilities. The whole team approach was wonderful. I’m happy to be going on walks and getting back in the pool and getting out and enjoying life.”

Online: http://opa.ahsc.arizona.edu
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