Woman with Large Facial Tumor Undergoes Life-Changing Surgery

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Playing Woman with Large Facial Tumor Undergoes Life-Changing Surgery

When Angie first appeared on The Doctors in April, she had a tumor the size of a grapefruit on the side of her face that had started out as a small almond-sized lump behind her right ear seven years earlier.

She went to several doctors who told her it likely was benign and she shouldn't be concerned. They all refused to try to remove the tumor because it would be too risky.

But the tumor affected Angie's daily life. She was embarrassed to be seen in public, avoided participating in events with her children and always was careful to hide the growth behind her hair when she did go out.

The Doctors sent Angie for a consultation with Osborne Head and Neck Institute in Los Angeles. Head and neck surgical oncologist Dr. Ryan Osborne and facial plastic reconstruction surgeon Dr. Jason Hamilton told her the surgery to remove the tumor would be extremely risky because of the possibility of damaging facial nerves, which could result in complete permanent facial paralysis. Despite the risks, Angie said she was ready to move forward with the surgery.

In the video above, The Doctors accompanies Angie to Osborne Head and Neck Institute on the day of the surgery.

Almost five months after the surgery, Angie returns to The Doctors. She says the surgery has changed her life because she is able to enjoy activities with her family without worrying how others will react to her. She says she is less anxious and no longer depressed.

However, Angie reveals that a pathology test performed on the tumor found that it was cancerous, and the cancer has spread to her left lung. She is undergoing treatments and “just praying that they can stop it.”

Dr. Osborne explains that Angie's case is extremely rare, because the tumor started out as benign and developed into cancer over time.

"A lot of times we take comfort in the fact that a growth has been there for a long time; it’s not causing pain; it’s not changing anything functionally," Dr. Osborne says. "We kind of get lulled into the feeling that it’s probably not doing any damage to us, and unfortunately, sometimes, that’s just not true."

ER physician Dr. Travis Stork adds, "If you have a tumor of that size, and the doctor says that’s nothing, go find a different doctor."

To donate to Angie's medical fund, please visit her GoFundMe page.