A woman who thought she was dying of a rare cancer had accepted her fate, only to discover she actually had a large parasite growing inside of her.
Cassidy Armstrong from Alberta, Canada, was diagnosed with a rare, terminal liver cancer in November last year, after she suffered from severe pain near her ribs and noticed she was losing weight. A mass, the size of a grapefruit was growing on her liver, the MRI showed.
Ms Armstrong told Global News it wasn’t looking good and she was “basically getting ready to die”. Sixty-five per cent of her liver was removed, as was her entire gallbladder and some nodules in her lungs.
Later, a biopsy revealed the mass which was discovered in the MRI was actually a cyst which was created by a parasite.
Doctors believe the tapeworm growing inside Ms Armstrong for about a decade and she has no idea how she got it.
Intestinal parasites cannot survive on their own, they thrive within another organism.
There are number of ways a tapeworm can enter a human host, the most common way being when human’s ingest undercooked meat, however sometimes people can becomes infected after coming into contact with animal faeces or drinking contaminated water.
Tapeworms can live inside a host for up to 20 years and can measure to be 50 feet long, and it is not uncommon for the parasite to pass through the human digestive system and end up in the toilet.
In Alberta, there have been 15 confirmed cases of parasites in patients since 2013, 13 of those patients had dogs.
Ms Armstrong told Global News she has no idea how she got the tapeworm, and she is now recovering on anti-parasitic medication.
The doctors told her there is a chance she would be able to live a healthy life, with a normal life expectancy.
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