Medical professionals at CHI Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, have successfully removed a rare 34-pound tumor from a 67-year-old man.

Doctors discovered the mass in the tissue surrounding Maurice “Sonny” Swanson’s kidney behind the intestines during a CT scan for kidney stones in May 2022, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. They soon discovered that the tumor was a malignant form of cancer known as liposarcoma.

Liposarcoma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in fat cells. While the disease can affect all ages, it is most prevalent in older people. Treatment for this type of cancer typically requires the removal of the affected body mass.

Symptoms of liposarcoma include pain, swelling, a growing lump under the skin, and weakness in associated limbs.

Swanson claimed that he did not notice any symptoms apart from a bulge forming on his left side and an unexplained weight gain of 50 pounds. Doctors said his tumor had likely been growing inside his abdomen for years.

Swanson’s case was the largest liposarcoma tumor medical professionals at CHI Memorial Hospital had ever seen, weighing 34 pounds and spanning 73 centimeters (nearly 29 inches). Most abdominal liposarcomas average between 20-25 centimeters, with the largest topping out at around 60 centimeters, the Chattanooga Times reported.

In addition to removing the tumor in September 2022, doctors also had to remove Swanson’s spleen, left kidney and left adrenal gland, a portion of his colon, and the tip of his pancreas to ensure that no cancerous tissue was left behind.

Swanson had other conditions as well that complicated his surgery, including high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease. At 403 pounds, Swanson’s size added another layer of risk to the surgery.

Dr. Justin Wilkes, a surgical oncologist who operated on Swanson, calculated that the chances of death due to the operation were between eight and nine percent, with a 40 percent risk of serious complications after being discharged.

“I don’t do very many surgeries where the risk of death is over a couple percent, so eight to nine percent was pretty high, but he didn’t have a lot of other options,” Wilkes said, according to the Chattanooga Times.

Swanson said that it was a “miracle” that he was alive after the success of his surgery.

“I was at peace with whatever was fixing to happen, and the good Lord just got me through it,” said Swanson, as reported in the Chattanooga Times.

Swanson is now well on the road to recovery, has lost over 100 pounds, and no longer suffers from high blood pressure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity increases a person’s risk of cancer and is often associated with other conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, and more.

Obesity is a growing health concern across the United States, including in Texas, where more than 34% of adults are obese, as the CDC reported.