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Rare Tumor Robs Young Woman's Voice

Mon, 01/16/2012 - 5:53am
Wendy Reuer

What Kirstin Flick thought was a common sore throat turned out to be a rare tumor.

So rare that doctors have said she may be the only person in the world to have it.

On Nov. 4, then 19-year-old Flick visited a Fargo ear nose and throat specialist, who found that her throat irritation and difficulty swallowing was being caused by a mass at the back of her throat, near her vocal cords. She needed surgery immediately.

Doctors removed most of the tumor but found the mass was a cancerous tumor called synovial sarcoma, which had wrapped around her voice box.

Flick was referred to a specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Synovial sarcomas are considered somewhat rare tumors in the medical field, and doctors there had never heard of one attaching to the voice box.

"(Sarcomas) occur mostly in the arms and legs, and treatment is generally amputation in those cases," Flick said.

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