• Teresita Briones, 79, noticed the small lump aound five years ago
• The growth swelled and developed rapidly
• Five years later it became twice the size of her head–more–>
Teresita, from Iligan City in the Philippines, depends on small change from strangers
An old lady has a tumour the size of a bucket growing from her cheek ━ but she is too afraid to have an operation.
She noticed a small lump under the skin of her right cheek 17 years ago but did nothing about it.
But the growth ━ which she thought at first was a mole ━ swelled and grew very fast. Within a year it was the size of a small tennis ball. Then it grew to more than twice the size of her head.
Teresita now begs around the streets near her shanty home in Iligan City, Philippines, where passers-by help her out with small change.
‘I am afraid to have an operation’
She said: “When I first noticed this I thought it was nothing. I ignored it. I thought it would go away. If I had gone to the doctor then, maybe life would be easier now. They could have fixed this without any trouble. Now the tumour is so big it makes life hard. It is not easy sleeping because of the size of it and it just keeps growing. I am afraid to have an operation. I am afraid that I will not be able to wake up again after the surgery. I am old now and I don’t think I could recover from it. I have had this so long that I don’t think that there’s anything I can do.”
Teresita said that doctors in her home town told her there was nothing they could do. They advised her instead to go to Manila where medical facilities are better. She never bothered to go because of the high price of airfare, accommodation and doctors’ bills.
The exact cause of a benign tumour is often unknown. It develops when cells in the body divide and grow at a very fast rate.
Typically, the body is able to balance cell growth and division. When old or damaged cells die, they are automatically replaced with new, healthy cells. In the case of tumours, dead cells remain and form a growth known as a tumour.
Cancer cells grow in the same manner. However, unlike the cells in benign tumours, cancerous cells can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. Whether benign tumours need treatment depends on how bothersome they are.
She could live until she’s 90. It looks hard for her and she has a hunched back because of the weight.
A British Skin Foundation spokesperson said it may be perfectly safe for Teresita to have surgery if medics assessing her say she’s strong enough.