Grandmother’s face is engulfed by a ‘heavy’ tumour that doctors can’t remove – but the 40-year-old claims she ‘isn’t bothered’ by it
- Aline Cerqueria Leite, from Brazil, has neurofibromatosis, an incurable condition
- She has had 14 surgeries since she was three to control the facial distortion
- Now, the risks are too high as the tumour has spread to her eyes, jaw and nose
A grandmother claims she isn’t bothered by a ‘heavy’ tumour engulfing one side of her face.
Aline Cerqueria Leite, from Três Rios, Brazil, has neurofibromatosis, an incurable inherited condition which caused the tumour.
The mother-of-three recently found out the mass has spread to her spread to her eyes, nose and the back of her mouth.
She has had many small operations over the years to manage the growth, but now, doctors have said surgery is too risky and could rob her of her eyesight.
NF1 affects one in 3,000 people in the UK and 100,000 people in the US to some extent, causing a variety of disabilities, skin changes and growths.
Aline Cerqueria Leite from Três Rios, Brazil, has neurofibromatosis, an incurable inherited condition which has caused a large tumour to grow on the left side of her face
The grandmother remains unbothered by the ‘heavy’ tumour which is currently inoperable
The tumour has been slowly distorting Ms Cerqueria Leite’s face since she was three years old, being managed by minor surgeries over the years
Ms Cerqueria Leite’s tumour is known as a plexiform neurofibroma, a complex mass of connective tissue that has grown along the nerves in her face.
The tumour has been slowly distorting Ms Cerqueria Leite’s face since she was three years old.
She said: ‘The syndrome makes my face a bit heavy but the rest is okay, not bad. It doesn’t bother me much.
‘My face was much bigger. In total I underwent 14 surgeries. The last one stopped my face from dropping again.’
Ms Cerqueria Leite was preparing herself for her first surgery in seven years, to reduce the bulk of the tumour and lift her mouth and ear.
But after travelling 124miles (200km) to Rio, she was told that her tumour had spread to her optic nerve.
Ms Cerqueria Leite was hoping to have surgery again for the first time in seven years. But the doctor said the tumour had spread to her eyes, nose and jaw, making it too risky to cut out
Ms Cerqueria Leite, pictured with her family, remains optimistic about her condition
Ms Cerqueria Leite was hoping the surgery would reduce the size of the growth and lift her mouth and ear. She has had 14 surgeries to control the dropping of her features
Ms Cerqueria Leite’s tumour is known as a plexiform neurofibroma, a complex mass of connective tissue that has grown along the nerves in her face
WHAT IS NEUROFIBROMATOSIS?
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common genetic condition that affects one in 3,000 people in the UK to some extent.
It’s caused by a genetic mutation that affects nerve tissue growth.
Around half of cases are inherited from a parent and the other half occur spontaneously.
Early symptoms include flat brown birthmarks, and lumps and bumps in unusual places.
It is also associated with mild learning difficulties, although most people with NF1 are otherwise healthy and live to a normal life expectancy.
There is no cure, however, surgery can be performed to remove the benign growths.
Source: The Neuro Foundation
Any invasive surgery could risk her losing her sight, which doctors believed was not worth it.
Dr Daher, who inspected her tumour, said: ‘It is [also] invading the nasal cavity. It has extended into the jaw.
‘It is very wide and infiltrative. At this moment, it’s not practical to cut it out.’
The doctor has decided to monitor the growth of Ms Cerqueria Leite’s tumour to understand how it is developing.
Ms Cerqueria Leite is determined to enjoy her life.
She said: ‘It wasn’t what I expected. But I’ve not lost hope. I continue on, firm that I will make it.’
Her daughter, Ana, added: ‘I am proud of her for being the mother she is for doing what she does for us.
‘Also, because she joins us to have fun and takes each day as it comes.
‘And for never giving up the fight for herself or for us.’
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