Man's 'beer belly' turns out to be 77-pound tumor

A California man whose growing midsection often drew stares recently learned that what looked like a "beer belly" was actually a 77-pound tumor.

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According to The New York Times, Hector Hernandez, 47, of Downey, California, couldn't figure out why he kept gaining weight despite rarely drinking alcohol, exercising and switching to a vegetable-rich diet.

"I just thought I was fat," he said.

A doctor initially said the same during a 2016 checkup, Hernandez said. But after getting another opinion in 2017, he found surgical oncologist Dr. William Tseng with the University of Southern California.

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Hernandez was surprised to learn that he had a "retroperitoneal liposarcoma, a cancer that starts in the fat cells at the back of the abdomen," according to a USC news release. The tumor weighed 77 pounds.

In July 2018, Tseng removed the tumor in a six-hour surgery.

"It was very gratifying to see his before and after photos and see him back at the size he was four or five years ago," Tseng said. "To be able to take it out safely and see him enjoy a good quality of life after, that's a big thing."

Hernandez said he's almost back to his old self.

"Oh, my God, I feel great," he told the Times.

Friends and family members have started a GoFundMe campaign for Hernandez. Learn more here.

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