Nineteen-year-old Nicola Thounaojam has spent the last eight months of her life in hospital rooms, hounded by the constant fear that she could have cancer of the urinary bladder. After finding over 12 tumours in the girl’s bladder, doctors diagnosed her with a rare disease of the ureter, which had caused her kidneys to swell.
Recounting her troubles, the Meghalaya resident said, “In October, last year, I first started experiencing pain while passing urine and a few days later, also noticed blood in it. At first, I didn’t worry about it but when it started occurring more frequently, I underwent an ultrasound test and CT scan,” said the second year Btech student.
Once the tests confirmed that there was a lump in the urinary bladder, she was rushed to Bangalore for further treatment in December. However, her worries didn’t end there. After being operated upon, and a portion of her tumour removed from her urinary bladder, doctors were unable to determine whether the lump was malignant or benign. Nicola, who studies in Chennai’s Vellore Institute of Technology, was then referred to Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital for further tests.
It was at Tata Memorial Hospital that she was informed that she no longer had the tumour and she was referred to LS Raheja Hospital for further tests. Dr Hemendra Shah, urologist at Mahim’s LS Raheja Hospital said, “We found out that there were at least 10-12 tumours, a few centimeters long surrounding her ureter, which had also caused considerable swelling around the ureter tube and her kidneys.”
He added, “This ailment is known as ureteral fibroepithelial polyps of the ureter, which is a rare benign abnormal mass of tissue, that can cause inaccurate diagnosis and treatment.”
The tumours were removed in the last week of May. A stent was then inserted in the urinary bladder to ensure smooth functioning of her kidneys and bladder. Nicola has now resumed a normal life and gone back to her studies.
Nicola said, “The doctors had informed us they were unsure about how the benign tumour had formed and asked me to come in for regular check-ups following which the stent was finally removed.”
Dr Jagdish Bhavani, deputy medical superintendent of St George Hospital and a urologist said, “Such a case is quite rare. It is observed in one in a lakh women. It can put tremendous strain on the kidneys, which can eventually lead to renal failure.”