Tumour behind 7-yr-old's weight gain, moustache

Tanzania resident Mohammad Abdulrazaq Jussa recuperating after city doctors removed 7-cm tumour from his adrenaline gland, which was responsible for his 12-kg weight gain, growth of facial hair

Painful and embarrassing stories about one's childhood years, when inexplicable physical changes take place, are not uncommon. But for Mohammad Abdulrazaq Jussa, a resident of Tanzania, it wasn't just ordinarily painful. The seven-year-old was harbouring a tumour in his adrenaline gland, causing him to suddenly gain 12 kg in a year, and develop a pencil moustache, much to the amusement of his classmates.

Growing pains: Mohammad at age six weighed 25 kg but suddenly his
weight shot up to 37 kg without any explanation. Doctors are now hoping
that after the removal of the tumour, the physical changes will regress.

The tumour was discovered last year when the boy suddenly started becoming fatter and started growing facial hair. "We had to start buying bigger clothes for him. Initially, my son was thin and active but suddenly, he began growing at a considerable pace.

"He would keep complaining to me about stomach pains but I thought it was just an excuse to miss school and the taunts he received from his friends. Now I regret not paying heed to his cries for help," said Bilkis, Mohammad's mother.

When the weight gain did not stop and he had put on about 12 kg, Mohammad's family sensed something was amiss and took him to doctors in Tanzania.

"The doctors we consulted at first told us that we should restrict his diet but when we told them that there was no change in his diet, doctors started investigating further. We even went to Jerusalem where physicians finally diagnosed that he had a tumour in his adrenaline gland. Seeking treatment for our son, we finally reached Mumbai," added Bilkis.

What doctors found
After the family finally reached city shores a week back, doctors at Saifee Hospital started treatment.
According to Mohammad's doctors, a tumour had grown inside his left adrenaline gland, causing the excess release of hormones resulting in weight gain. Doctors say that Mohammad is suffering from Cushing's syndrome

Under the knife
On Thursday, Mohammad underwent a laparoscopic surgery to remove the tumour, which was seven-cm long and weighed approximately 450 g.

"Mohammad's case was a challenging surgery as he is just seven and at the same time the tumour was as
big as his kidney. As we did the surgery laparoscopically, there was no blood loss, giving us excellent post-operative results," said Dr Anup Ramani, uro-oncological surgeon at Saifee Hospital.

'Hoping for normalcy'
Now recuperating at the hospital, Mohammad and his family hope the boy starts looking his age again. Commenting on the changes, Bilkis said, "He was really active before but once he started putting on weight, he started becoming introverted and his studies were also affected. I now pray that everything returns to

When asked about the pace of growth, Dr Ramani said most physical changes would regress in a year's time. "We have put him on a dose of steroids to compensate for the growth spurts he has experienced and hope that all the changes regress."

Cushing's syndrome
Cushing's syndrome is a hormone disorder caused by high levels of cortisol in the blood. This can be caused by taking glucocorticoid drugs, or by tumours that produce cortisol. Cushing's disease refers to one specific cause of the syndrome: a tumour in the pituitary gland that elevates cortisol.

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