In Brief

‘Pregnant’ woman had 26kg ovarian cyst

Doctors thought Keely Favell must be expecting before finally discovering and removing growth

A Swansea woman with an enormously swollen stomach has told how doctors believed she must be pregnant - before discovering that her “baby” was an ovarian cyst that weighted as much as an average eight-year-old.

Keely Favell, 28, says that she and her partner of ten years,  Jamie Gibbins, initially believed she was “just fat” after she began gaining weight in 2014.

“I’ve always been chunky, but over the course of a couple of years, I gradually got this tummy,” she told the BBC.

“We did wonder a few times if I was pregnant - but we did home tests and they always ruled it out.” 

All the same, Favell would often “go along with it” when strangers assumed she was expecting, to avoid embarrassment.

Writing on the medical blog Emergency Departments are for Emergencies Only, the office admin worker describes how she finally went to her GP in 2016 after experiencing multiple blackouts and struggling to breathe.

The doctor initially said that Favell was simply overweight, but referred her for an ultrasound to check for pregnancy or other issues.

“The ultrasound led to an emergency CT scan which showed I had a large ovarian mass,” Favell says.

In March last year, she underwent a five-hour operation at Swansea’s Singleton Hospital that involved surgeons cutting her open from her chest bone to her pelvis. The removed cyst was found to weigh 26kg (4st 1lb).

“The shock on my family’s faces said it all, I was literally half the women I was... I couldn’t believe I’d been walking around for so long carrying this medical alien,” recalls Favell, adding: “It looked like a massive pile of ice cream so I called it Mr Whippy.” 

Now fully recovered, she says the operation has transformed her life.

“I lost sight of how difficult even simple things like driving a car or walking up the stairs had become. Losing my lump gave me my life back - I can’t thank my surgeon enough.” 

Ovarian cysts are common, fluid-like sacs that are usually small and harmless.“Asymptomatic simple cysts should be considered normal findings in woman of any age,” Rebecca Smith-Bindman, a professor of radiology at University of California, San Francisco, told United Press International.

However, women experiencing symptoms such as pelvic pain, bloating, or pain during sex should consult a doctor.

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