A cancerous liver tumor the size of a small cantaloupe was removed from a tiny 2-year-old girl admitted to Randall Children's Hospital.
Doctors say because of the size of the tumor, it was like a ticking time bomb.
If her parents hadn't caught it when they did, it's possible it could have ruptured.
"It took up the whole upper part of her abdomen," said Dr. Cynthia Gingalewski, medical director of Pediatric Surgical Services at Randall Children's Hospital.
It was Noemi Torres' mother who first discovered something wasn't quite right about her only child.
Kenia Torres said she was playing with her daughter one day and then noticed her stomach was hard to the touch.
"Her entire stomach was like rock hard, like solid rock," said Kenia Torres. "It was also sticking out more than usual, so I was worried."
Kenia Torres took Noemi to her local pediatrician, who immediately told her to rush the 2-year-old to the ER.
Doctors at Randall Children's Hospital performed numerous tests and discovered the tumor was taking over the left half of Noemi's liver.
"When they told me it was the size of a cantaloupe, I was like, ‘That's not what's inside. It can't be. How is that even possible in my tiny, petite, two-year-old daughter?'" said Kenia Torres.
After an eight-hour-long surgery, surgeons were able to successfully remove Noemi's tumor, but also had to cut out half of her liver.
"The good news is we got the entire tumor out, and it appears the remaining part of her liver is free of any tumor cells," Gingalewski said. "Her body doesn't show any signs of tumor cell spread, but we do always worry that it can grow back."
Doctors sent the tumor to a pathologist, who determined it was cancerous.
Noemi is now undergoing routine chemotherapy treatments to prevent the cancer from coming back.
"You know, she's a fighter," said Kenia Torres. "She wakes up in the morning like everything's OK. I think this is bringing us closer together as a family, and at the end of this, I know we will come out victorious."
Doctors say that tumors like Noemi's are extremely hard to detect until it's almost too late. They suggest feeling your child's stomach on a regular basis, just to make sure everything feels normal.
If you have any concerns, they urge you to see a doctor.
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