Rare Discovery by Sonography Students

By Myra Saturen
February 10, 2014

Tamara Dutt felt fine when she volunteered to have an ultrasound at the College's diagnostic medical sonography program lab.  An applicant to the program, she was eager to meet some sonography students and experience the lab firsthand. 

She was surprised, but not alarmed, when students found a mass below one of her kidneys during a lab session on the renal system.  Her family physician did not react as calmly, urging Dutt to come to the office immediately.  "Oh, my word, this must be something serious!" Dutt thought.  A tense time followed-a CAT scan, referral to a surgical oncologist, and more tests. 

Fortunately, while indeed of concern, the growth turned out to be benign-a rare lesion called a ganglioneuroma tumor.  Slow growing, the tumor pressed against Dutt's ureter and could have caused trouble later on.  In January, Dutt had surgery to remove the growth and is now recuperating. 

The NCC sonography program accepts only volunteers who do not have an identified medical problem and who have a primary physician and health insurance.  While many of the volunteers are applicants to the sonography program, participation does not affect the outcome of their application.  Volunteering is not mandatory for admission.  Younger volunteers are advised to discuss their participation with their parents first.  Some pregnant women also choose to have a sonogram at the NCC lab. 

Dutt believes that because of her ordeal, she will be better able to relate to people with suspicious scans once she is a sonographer herself.  "I know what it is like to be scared," she says.  She is grateful that the tumor was discovered and that she is on the road to recovery. 

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