A risky surgery and a normal life restored


Share this story:


In the news: 

Melvin Jacobs had begun to lose hope that he would ever live a normal life again.

For more than a year, a tumor had been growing on his inner thigh, at first limiting his mobility, then preventing him from walking at all.

At least 10 doctors declined to remove the ever-enlarging mass – saying its location and size made such an operation too dangerous. Jacobs began to doubt that any surgeon would be willing to undertake the difficult task.

Then he found Albert Yurvati, DO, Chair of Surgery at UNTHSC.

Dr. Yurvati’s diagnosis? Jacobs had a large lipomatous, or fatty, tumor that possibly was cancerous. An initial examination and imagery indicated the mass weighed 18 pounds. Unlike others, he recommended surgery to remove it.

Because of the size of the tumor, Dr. Yurvati called in Joseph Ronaghan, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, to assist – and it took both surgeons to successfully remove the mass.

"There were extremely large blood vessels feeding it that were the size of a thumb," Dr. Yurvati said. "We were able to completely remove the tumor, which was the size of a basketball."

Fortunately for Jacobs, there was no evidence of cancer.

"This was the world’s largest tumor ever removed of this type and in this location," Dr. Yurvati said. "Melvin is doing great. He now can walk without a walker or use of a wheelchair. We are so glad that we could help him. Certainly the surgery required a team effort, which we could offer at UNTHSC."

Jacobs is deeply grateful. "Dr. Yurvati helped me when no one else would," he said. "He is one of the best doctors I’ve ever had, and I’m so grateful to have my life back."

Share this story:

student standing by window

A sense of service and a desire to help

By Giovanny Destin, TCOM student   The challenges many of my students faced were etched on their faces when they arrived at Polytechnic High School each morning. Some were tired from working a job late in the evening to help support their families. Some showed stress from problems at h...Read more

Dec 12, 2017

Teamwork that produces better research

By Jan Jarvis   A new agreement between UNT Health Science Center and JPS Health Network is expected to open the door to new discoveries and give Tarrant County patients greater access to cutting-edge research and ultimately new treatments. This approach streamlines the process and mak...Read more

Dec 6, 2017

‘Don’t tell them that they can’t’

By Alex Branch Londyn Miner can pinpoint the moment that started her path to UNT Health Science Center. It was seven years ago in her Granbury living room, as she tearfully explained her 15-month-old son’s devastating prognosis to a physical therapist. An MRI had revealed that Orion...Read more

Dec 5, 2017

Taking aim at metastatic prostate cancer

By Jan Jarvis When prostate cancer spreads to the bone it can be challenging to treat and often results in pain, fractures and limited survival. But an approach that delivers chemotherapy directly to the cancerous bone lesions shows promise as a new treatment that reduces tumor size and re...Read more

Dec 4, 2017