Rosie O’Donnell’s Fiance Battling Rare Tumor

Instead of planning their wedding, Rosie O’Donnell‘s fiance, Michelle Rounds, is planning her recovery from a rare tumor called a desmoid tumor.

Rounds began to experience severe pain in May, which grew in intensity. She and Rosie wandered through a  “maze of medical mystery” until she was finally diagnosed with the very rare tumor. She underwent surgery in June, and according to Rosie, is:

getting stronger every day
we have joined the fight against this disease
raising money and awareness

Their fall wedding has been postponed until next summer. Instead of wedding presents, they ask that donations be made to the DTRF Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation.

 What is a Desmoid Tumor?

A desmoid tumor, also known as an aggressive fibromatosis,  is the abnormal growth of cells in connective tissues. Connective tissue helps to maintain the structure of the body and include the tissues covering muscle (fascia), cartilage and fat.

Although these tumors have a tendency to invade surrounding tissues and organs (be aggressive), they rarely spread to more distant parts of the body (metastasize).

Desmoid tumors occur in 2-5 people per million and are most often found in the muscles of the shoulder or abdominal wall, though they can occur in other parts of the body as well.

The first signs that a desmoid tumor is growing include a growing mass or lump; if the mass presses on other parts of the body, it could cause moderate pain, numbness, tingling, or limit the movement of limbs.

A desmoid tumor is usually diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) followed by a biopsy.  Treatment consists of surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible; radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy may also be used to reduce the chance that the tumor might regrow following surgery.

The cause of desmoid tumors is not completely clear;  however, approximately 5% of these tumors are associated with an inherited colon cancer syndrome known as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).

For more information, click here to go to the Resounding Health Casebook on the topic.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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