WHEN Val Best went to her doctor to seek help losing weight she did not expect to end up on the operating table.

Val, 69, was admitted to Colchester General Hospital for a precautionary scan. Imagine her shock when doctors told her a football-sized tumour was growing on an ovary. She underwent an emergency operation. Four days later she left with a photograph of her benign tumour weighing 7.5kg –about 1st – the largest removed at the hospital for 15 years.

Val, of Ivor Court, Highwoods , Colchester, said: “The doctors saved my life. I had been trying to lose weight and I just couldn’t.

“So when I went to the doctor he said the area concerned was a bit hard and sent me to hospital for a scan.

“They told me: ‘We think it might be cancer’ and within two weeks I was in for the operation.”

Val has made a full recovery, having been nursed back to health in her home by family.

She said: “Every day I feel like a new woman. I called the tumour my little space hopper.

“It was like being nine months’ pregnant, but I knew it couldn’t be that at my age. “I think I just would have burst if it had kept growing.”

Jonathan Evans-Jones, a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology, conducted the operation.

He also removed a number of malignant cancer cells in Val’s uterus, which previous scans had not flagged up.

She said: “I was nervous of what sort of treatment I would get in the hospital, but all the staff were great.”

She will be regularly monitored to make sure no cancerous cells grow back.