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PostPosted: Thu 05.21.2009, 08:57 
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A shadow. A day earlier, on April 30, Cardinals DT Kenny Iwebema, 24, had undergone a mandatory team physical. Doctors worried that the spot could be a life-threatening aortic aneurysm. A subsequent CAT scan and PET scan revealed a mass the size of a baseball. Startled, doctors grabbed his chest X-rays from 14 months earlier, when he had been drafted in the fourth round by the Cardinals, and saw nothing. The tumor had metastasized at an alarming rate in just more than a year. ... The mass was lodged between his heart and sternum. Had it not been discovered, a sharp hit to the chest could have caused his heart to stop. "It's possible," trainer Tom Reed said later, "we'd be going to a funeral instead." Doctors had good news for Iwebema. He had a non-malignant Teratoma, a type of germ-cell tumor that often is the product of a genetic anomaly. As with Iwebema, the tumor often doesn't starting growing for years. The chest X-ray, long a part of the NFL physical, likely saved Iwebema's life. Most non-athletic physicals don't include them. Because Iwebema's mass grew so rapidly, it would have been fatal. -- Arizona Republic


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