07/18/2012 04:06 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Li Hongfang, Woman Disfigured By Facial Tumors, Undergoes Incredible Transformation (PHOTOS)

Quirky China News / Rex / Rex USA

A poor Chinese woman who was left horrifically disfigured by bone cancer is feeling much better after doctors performed surgery to remove 70 large tumors from her face.

Li Hongfang became disfigured by the tumors as a result of a rare form of cancer, reports the Daily Mail.


Li, 40, was forced to endure the condition, known as Chordoma, for more than a decade because she didn't have money to pay for the surgery. But after her story touched hearts around the world, a hospital in Xi'an, the capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, offered to perform the surgery for free. The surgery normally costs about $90,000.

"I feel my head is lighter, and I must look better," Li told the Daily Mail following the operation. She explains that even though her surgery is over, she still hasn't looked at herself in the mirror. "I want to save the big time to the time when the surgery swelling goes down. It could be the best gift to me," she said.

tumor surgery

A Chinese woman whose face was totally distorted by giant tumors has checked out of hospital after receiving treatment. With the disfiguring tumors removed, Li Hongfang now looks very different from how she looked just a month ago.

According to, Li was living with her husband and two sons in Shaanxi province's Tianchao village when she was diagnosed: “We didn’t have much money but we were very happy and we loved each other and our two boys. I would say life was good then,” Li said. The mother of two sons, Li didn't think anything of it when she got a small swelling on her forehead. "I thought it was probably just an insect bite. It didn’t even itch or ache in any way – but it also didn’t go away and in fact just got bigger and bigger," she says.

In 2005, Li underwent surgery to remove the lump, but not long after, more bumps appeared on her face and she was diagnosed as suffering from Chordoma. Once a beautiful woman, Li tried to soothe people who were scared of her by telling them: “I am just ill. Please, I am not a monster,” reports The Huffington Post UK.

"I am actually very lucky. My mother-in-law loves me as a daughter. My husband gives me love, and my children gave me a lot of happiness," Li said recently.

In early July, Li underwent an operation to remove the tumors from her face. She checked out of the hospital a week ago.

Thanks to the surgery, Li will have a shot at living the "normal" life she wants.

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Editor's Note: There is some discrepancy over whether Hongfang had seven tumors or 70 tumors. For the purposes of this article, we have gone with the number cited in the Daily Mail.