Mesa Doctor Breaks World Record for Largest Tumor Removal and It's Kind of Gross

Mesa Doctor Breaks World Record for Largest Tumor Removal and It's Kind of Gross
Courtesy of Doctor Greg J. Marchand

You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to set a world record. Just this year, Guinness World Records rewarded a Daytona Beach, Florida, man for having the largest collection of hamburger-related items — 3,724, to be exact.

You don’t even have to be a person to win one — a llama broke a record when he channeled Seasiscuit and jumped over a 3-foot, 8.5-inch bar after months of “agility training.”

No, you don’t have to be surgeon to set a world record — but some do. Just ask Dr. Greg J. Marchand.

The Mesa doctor set a world record for the Largest Malignant Tumor to Undergo Successful Laparoscopic Ovarian Cancer Staging Surgery. In human speak, he removed a giant, cancerous ovarian tumor with a belly button incision smaller than a dime.

The surgery was in 2015, but this year the World Record Academy confirmed the technique had never been done on any malignant ovarian tumor that large, according to a press release graphic enough to read like a Saw script.

This is Marchand’s second world record. Back in 2008, he won a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for a laparoscopic removal of the largest uterus. It was seven pounds.

The cancerous ovarian tumor Marchand removed was “the size of a junior-sized soccer ball,” or 17 centimeters. And let’s just say this doc kicked the cancer right out of it.

Left: Non-laparoscopic surgery with large scar. Right: Surgery with Marchand’s Technique - COURTESY OF DR. GREG J. MARCHAND
Left: Non-laparoscopic surgery with large scar. Right: Surgery with Marchand’s Technique
Courtesy of Dr. Greg J. Marchand
The board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist and his surgical team performed an “in-bag” Morcellation, removing the tumor laparoscopically, which involves sticking a tiny camera and surgical instruments into a small incision in the abdomen.

Let’s break that down. Marchand literally did. He used what looks like a fancy metal butterfly net, but with a plastic bag on the end of it, to capture the massive tumor. He pulled the bagged tumor up to the dime-sized incision and broke down it into particles that were extracted one by one through the teeny-tiny belly button hole.

Marchand, who owns Mesa practice Marchand OBGYN PLLC, said the most difficult part of the surgery was removing the cancerous mass without spilling cancer cells into the abdomen, which could have caused the cancer to spread and worsen the patient’s prognosis.

Though it’s not uncommon for doctors to remove cysts and tumors through laparoscopic surgery, using the technique to remove an ovarian tumor that large is rare, Marchand told New Times.

Without the laparoscopic surgery, patients could have the tumor removed through a large incision that could require additional recovery time, pain, risk, and delay in chemotherapy, and scarring illustrated in the lovely press release above.

In a YouTube video explaining the tumor-removal technique, Marchand captured a small watermelon in the bag to demonstrate the process.

“There are actually no watermelon tumors, thankfully,” Marchand said.

Although, we’d rather have a giant watermelon inside of us than a cancerous tumor. 

Not to say that Marchand doesn’t take the surgery seriously.

Marchand was diagnosed with mixed-cell carcinoma, an aggressive cancer of the testes, in 2010.

"When I had my testicular cancer surgery, it was done in a very minimally invasive way," Marchand said. "I woke up and I just felt great and I felt ready to fight cancer ...  I can imagine patients that wake up with big incision, you can't get up and down or poop or even move in your bed ... You feel like giving up, not fighting cancer."

He wanted his patients to have a minimally invasive experience like his, so they could wake up ready to put on their cancer-fight capes and take on chemotherapy and other treatments at full force.

Marchand received his surgery and treatments seven years ago and is now in remission.

"I want my patients to have that feeling of being ready to fight," Marchand said. "They can win this, and that was definitely my motivation here. I'm hoping it will bring attention to minimally invasive surgery."

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Molly Longman