For two years, doctors failed to diagnose the dull pain in Santacruz resident Ramesh Maule’s abdomen.
The pain turned into a constant, unbearable ache followed by bouts of vomiting.
Last month, Maule (50) was referred to GT Hospital, Marine Lines, where a CT scan revealed a rare, 10x15 cm malignant tumour on his adrenal gland, just above his left kidney.
On July 22, Maule underwent surgery to remove the tumour.
An adrenal gland tumour is very rare, with an incidence of one or two cases per million people. The human body possesses two adrenal glands, one above each kidney.
The glands release hormones that regulate metabolism, heart rate, and blood pressure.
“When this gland is affected with a tumour, the patient may experience wildly fluctuating blood pressure and diabetes,” said Dr Vivek Tilwani, assistant professor (general surgery).
“Even mere handling of the tumour during surgery can cause mammoth fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure,” Dr Tilwani added.
Maule’s unstable blood pressure complicated the surgery. During the six-hour procedure, doctors discovered that Maule’s left kidney had been invaded by the tumour and had to be removed.
“The patient is doing fine now but will have to undergo chemotherapy later,” said Dr Jitendra Sankpal, chief of surgery, GT Hospital, who conducted the operation.
“I barely manage to make ends meet. I have been told this surgery costs Rs 10-15 lakh in private hospitals. I would never have been able to afford it,” said Maule, who works as a peon in a construction firm.