A 32-year-old New York man says he suffered burning chest pains for a decade. When doctors performed an MRI, they discovered the largest heart tumor ever recorded.
Jake Cohen said he experienced the pains since college, but he dismissed his concerns for years until his blood pressure dropped to dangerously low levels during a stress test, reported CBS New York.
Heart tumors—which are usually benign—are quite rare. They can still be deadly if they impede the function of the heart.
“They told me it was probably nothing, and I would accept it. I would go home, I would take some antacid medicine or something like that,” Cohen recalled to CBS NY. “But I really kind of felt something was off.”
When he got an MRI, they found that he had a tumor on his heart the size of a tennis ball.
“Jake’s tumor is the largest one I have ever seen,” said Dr. Yoshifumi Naka, who is a surgeon at New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Medical Center, according to the CBS affiliate. “The tumor is inside the tumor capsule and then expanding, expanding, expanding,” he said.
The tumor could have been growing since Cohen was born.
Cohen’s tumor, fortunately for him, was benign. “I feel extremely lucky,” he said.
“Now, three, four days a week in the gym and trying to get in good shape, and really just trying to live a really healthy life,” he added.
Cardiologist Dr. Thomas Cosola noted that heart tumors are quite rare. “In the seventeen years I’ve been here, I’ve seen two,” he said, according to WREG.
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According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Primary tumors are tumors that originate in the heart and are rare, occurring in one out of 2,000 people. Tumors that originate in another part of the body and then spread to the heart are called secondary tumors.”
The Cleveland Clinic says that “cardiac tumors are abnormal growths in the heart or heart valves,” adding that they’re rare.
“Most cardiac tumors are benign. But, even benign tumors can cause problems because of their size and location. Sometimes, small pieces of tumor fall into the bloodstream and are carried to distant blood vessels and get in the way of blood flow to vital organs,” the clinic’s website states.
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