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Vietnamese doctors reduce local woman's giant back tumor

Doctors in Hanoi have successfully reduced a giant tumor on the back of a woman that was as large as the 20-year-old carrier herself.

Previously, she had to wear large clothes to cover the tumor, which descended down to her thigh.

Dr. Nguyen Hong Ha removed seven kilograms of the tumor from Hanoi resident Nguyen Thi Lam at the Vietnam-Germany Hospital on January 23, Sam Seyadoussane, who runs the Canada-based Virtual Medical Miracle Network that connected Lam to donors and doctors, told Thanh Nien via email.

Lam suffered from neurofibromatosis, a genetically-inherited disorder in which the nerve tissue grows tumors that may cause serious damage by compressing nerves and other tissues.

Lam said she was born normal except for a tumor on her back that has grown on to the right side of her body.

The girl had been concealing the condition to as many people as possible, until she brought herself to local media agencies requesting help last December.

"I just want to have a normal body. Then it's totally fine if I could live for only one more day," she told news website Dan Tri.

Her parents took her to the Military Central Hospital, also known as Hospital 108 and the National Hospital of Pediatrics when she was a child, and doctors diagnosed her with congenital nervous system neoplasm, but they said the tumor could not be removed and that she would have to live with it.

She said she wanted to stop feeling ashamed, and also to help her mother, who works alone on the family's small rice field and cares for her mother-in-law who is more than 90 years old, as well as a 47-year-old mentally ill brother-in-law. Lam's father died long ago.

The girl has received cash donations worth VND61 million ($2,930) since going public.

Her case was introduced to doctors thanks to Nguyen Duy Hai, who had his 92-kilogram tumor removed successfully in January last year by US surgeon McKay McKinnon.

Hai received a request for help from Lam and he contacted the philanthropists who had helped him. One of them, Tina Thien Nga Nguyen, a regular contact of the Virtual Medical Miracle Network based in Ho Chi Minh City, connected Lam to doctors in Hanoi.

Nguyen Thi Lam displays the gaint back tumor before it was surgically reduced by Hanoi doctors January 23

Seyadoussane said his network has received similar requests from more than 50 patients with rare tumors in Vietnam and that they are seeking solutions for them.

Cho Ray, a leading emergency hospital in Ho Chi Minh City and the city-based France-Vietnam Hospital, have been helping with several cases and agreed to continue, he said.

The network has also received help from other medical and charity organizations in Vietnam and overseas, as well as from McKinnon, the renowned plastic surgeon based in Chicago, Illinois.

In addition to Hai, the doctor helped with two other patients during the short time he was in Vietnam, including a woman in the Mekong Delta with bubble-like lumps that covered her body and face, and another woman in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong with a 2-kilogram facial tumor.

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