Neurofibromatosis Incredible Melting Woman

During 1977 American International Pictures released a lurid film titled “The Incredible Melting Man.” Although it’s become a minor cult classic, no one ever thought anyone could actually melt. Humans melting? Why, such a thing could only be imagined by a crazy, low budget film studio—most likely by a couple of hack screenwriters that tossed down a few too many boilermakers.

But then a woman named Tan came down with a terrifying disease that actually began melting her body in a grotesquely slow motion way. Her dilapidated flesh is stretching and sagging and…well, melting.

Tan, a 43-year old Chinese, has large swaths of her body where the flesh actually appears like irregularly melted, drooping wax. She’s become so disfigured that at first glance she could easily be mistaken as a creature from another world. Experts fear that in another few years the desperate woman may not even resemble anything human.

Normally treatable, the disease-identified by medical specialists as neurofibromatosis [2]—may have spread past the point of no return. According to Tan, she first became aware of the affliction when she was 20 years old. Unfortunately, she ignored it and the neurofibromatosis advanced to a degree never before seen by science.

The rare genetic disorder has advanced slowly but surely. Now, some of the world’s top experts have been consulted and they are completely stymied over any course of treatment that may halt and reverse the woman’s advanced stage of the disease.

The skin on Tan’s body has lost almost all of its normal elasticity. Large sections sag as growths and unchecked tumors turn her into a living, animated wax doll that’s almost literally melting away.

Neurofibromatosis is defined as “a genetically-inherited disorder in which the nerve tissue grows tumors (i.e., neurofibromas) that may be harmless or may cause serious damage by compressing nerves and other tissues. The disorder affects all neural crest cells (Schwann cells, melanocytes, endoneurial fibroblasts). Cellular elements from these cell types proliferate excessively throughout the body forming tumors and the melanocytes function abnormally resulting in disordered skin pigmentation. The tumors may cause bumps under the skin, colored spots, skeletal problems, pressure on spinal nerve roots, and other neurological problems.” [3]

Now Tan can only hope and pray that some medical miracle will be found to halt the progression of the illness and stop it before she ends up confined to a bed, her body barely more than a shuddering pool of melted flesh.


[1] “The Incredible Melting Man”

[2] NINDS Neurofibromatosis Information Page

[3] Merck Manual Home Edition, “Neurofibromatosis”

Melting woman, Tan. [Photo]