Defen Yao, a Chinese woman who is 2 meters 36 centimeters (7’9’’) tall, has been diagnosed with malignant brain tumor.
The 38-year-old woman has a rare condition known as gigantism. She has recently been declared the tallest woman on Earth.
Yao stopped growing only 6 years ago. Medics detected a tumor in her head which was suppressing the part of the brain responsible for growth. The tumor, which made the woman add five centimeters (2 inches) to her stature every year, was removed.
However, the life of the tallest woman alive is in danger again. Doctors performed the tomography of her head and discovered that the malignant tumor could start growing again. If it happens, the woman will most likely die.
The title of the tallest woman on Earth previously belonged to Sandy Allen, an American female who was 2 meters 32 centimeters (7’7 and ¼’’) in height. Sandy died two years ago.
Yao Defen was born to poor farmers in the town of Liuan in the Anhui province of Shucheng County. At birth she weighed 6.16 pounds. At the age of three years she was eating more than three times the amount of food that other three-year-old children were eating. When she was eleven years old she was about six feet, two inches tall. She was six feet nine inches tall by the age of fifteen years.
The story of this "woman giant" began to spread rapidly after she went to see a doctor at the age of fifteen years for an illness. After that, many companies attempted to train her to be a sports star. The plans were abandoned, however, because Defen was too weak. Because she is illiterate, since 1992 Yao Defen has been forced to earn a living by traveling with her father and performing.
The term gigantism is typically applied to those whose height is not just in the upper 1% of the population but several standard deviations above mean for persons of the same sex, age, and ethnic ancestry. The term is seldom applied to those who are simply "tall" or "above average" whose heights appear to be the healthy result of normal genetics and nutrition. It is usually caused by a tumor on the pituitary gland on the brain. It causes growth of the hands, face, and feet.
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