30-Year-Old Woman Discovers She's Actually A Man With Cancer During Medical Check-Up
Jun. 27, 2020
A 30-year-old woman recently made a shocking discovery during a hospital visit – she's technically a man, and she has cancer.
The unnamed resident of Birbhum, east India, visited Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Hospital with unexplained abdominal pain a few months ago.
After tests revealed she had what's known as a "blind vagina", meaning a very short vaginal passage, doctors decided to carry out a karyotype test which revealed her chromosomes were XY (male s3x), rather than XX (female s3x).
Clinical oncologist Dr Anupam Dutta and surgical oncologist Dr Soumen Das then discovered she had undescended testicles inside her body.
She was diagnosed with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS), a condition in which a person is genetically male yet has all the physical characteristic of a woman.
"From her appearance, she is a woman," Dr Dutta told local media.
"Starting from her voice, developed breasts, normal external genitalia, everything is that of a woman. However, uterus and ovaries have been absent since birth. She has also never experienced menstruation.
"As her testicles remained undeveloped inside the body, there was no secretion of testosterone. Her female hormones, on the other hand, gave her the appearance of a woman," Dr Dutta added.
The diagnosis explains why the woman and her husband had been trying to have a baby for years but had been unsuccessful.
"The person has grown up to be a woman," Dr Dutta explained.
"She is married to man for almost a decade. Currently, we are counselling the patient and her husband, advising them to continue living life as they have been."
To make matters more complicated, she was diagnosed with cancer of the testicles she didn't even know she had. She's currently undergoing chemotherapy and her health condition is stable.
Her younger sister, 28, has also been diagnosed with AIS. Their two maternal aunts were diagnosed with the condition in the past, indicating it is genetically passed down.
AIS is very rare and affects one in every 22,000 people.
WATCH: WHY HAVE WE NOT CURED CANCER YET?
Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) is a rare condition that affects the development of a child's genitals and reproductive organs.
A child born with AIS is genetically male, but the external appearance of their genitals may be female or somewhere between male and female.
Someone with AIS may benefit from psychological support, and in some cases may have treatment to alter the appearance of their genitals.
Most people born with the condition are unable to have children, but they'll otherwise be perfectly healthy and able to lead a normal life.
AIS is caused by a genetic fault that's usually passed on to a child by their mother.
Despite being genetically male, the body doesn't respond to testosterone (the male s3x hormone) properly and male sexual development doesn't happen as normal.
The pen1s doesn't form or is underdeveloped, which means the child's genitals may appear female, or between male and female. However, they don't have a womb or ovaries and have fully or partially undescended testicles.
Women who carry the genetic fault won't have AIS themselves, but there's a 1 in 4 chance each child they have will be born with the condition.
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