10/09/2015 13:38 BST | Updated 11/09/2015 05:59 BST

Huge Tumour Growing On Woman's Back Measures 19cm In Length (Graphic Image)

You often hear about people who live with a tumour in their body for years before noticing something is up.

But one 46-year-old woman from Dublin has knowingly been living with a large growth on her back for more than 10 years - and, much to the confusion of doctors, has never sought to have it removed.

The "breast-sized" tumour is 19cm in length and 6.7cm wide, according to the British Medical Journal.

Doctors say the tumour is painless, however it has accelerated in growth over the past three years.

tumour

The report says that the woman is a heavy-smoker with a history of chronic obstructive airway disease.

The tumour is described as being "firm to the touch and non-tender".

"She had no other skin lesion and there were no palpable nodes. The rest of the examination was normal," reads the report.

An MRI scan showed that the tumour was not cancerous and doctors believe the "mass" is a lipoma, which is a harmless fatty tissue tumour.

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According to NHS Choices, lipomas aren't cancerous and are caused by an overgrowth of fat cells. "They can grow anywhere in the body where there are fat cells, but are usually seen on the shoulders, neck, chest, arms, back, buttock and thigh.

"They feel soft and 'doughy' to touch and range from the size of a pea to a few centimetres across," reads the NHS site.

"They grow very slowly and don't usually cause any other problems.

"Occasionally, lipomas can develop deeper inside the body, so you won't be able to see or feel them."

Dr Tunde Abdulsalam, who created the BMJ report, said that it was the largest lipoma he had seen and added that it was "unusual" that the patient had let it grow to that size.

"Most patients would have it removed sooner for cosmetic reasons," he told the Mail Online.

"From my clinical experience most lipomas are small in size. And most patients frequently leave it alone because it is relatively stable for years and does not affect bodily function.

"But in some cases, it can increase in size as a person's BMI increases."

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