Ely Sebastian, a liver surgeon at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, removed the tumor this month. It weighed nine pounds and was the size of a bowling ball.
No wonder Garcia, 38, had looked six months pregnant.
"It's so crazy to know that you're walking around with something and didn't know that it was going to be so big," said Garcia, who immediately felt better with the tumor gone but is still in some pain.
About 7 percent of adults have hemangiomas. Most never cause any problems. About 10 percent grow and cause symptoms, Sebastian said. Sometimes the only medical solution is a liver transplant.
Garcia's tumor, he said, was a "giant." One that size is "very uncommon." He estimated that it had been growing at least 10 years.
Sebastian, who does liver transplants and is trained to do living-donor transplantation, removed the right side of Garcia's liver in much the way he would if she were a living donor. The liver is the one organ that regenerates, but Garcia's may not grow all that much, her surgeon said. The left side of the liver had already grown to compensate for the damage the tumor was causing.
Sebastian said there was little chance the tumor would come back.
Asked if she wanted to see the monster that was growing in her, Garcia laughed and said, "No, that's OK."
Bad as it sounds, nine pounds is nowhere near the record. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest tumor ever removed was a 306-pound multi-cystic mass on the right ovary. It was removed by California surgeons in 1991. The patient, who made a full recovery, left the operating room on one stretcher and the mass left on another.
Contact staff writer Stacey Burling at 215-854-4944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.