As Mr Bump was walking through the park, the pain in his knee intensified. This was not normal. It was devastating and it had been troubling him for a couple of months now. No painkiller seemed to work and it had even started to wake him up at night. He needed to see a doctor, but he couldn’t move his leg. It felt like a completely different type of pain.
Just then, Dr One was taking a jog through the park. ‘Dr One! Dr One!’ Mr Bump shouted out. ‘Dr One I’m in terrible pain!’
Dr One stopped and turned around. ‘Oh Mr Bump, didn’t see you there, are you alright? What’s happened?’ said a concerned Dr One.
‘My bone hurts. My knee bone hurts. It’s been hurting me for a long time now. I don’t know what to do,’ cried Mr Bump.
‘You need to come with me. We need to do some tests on you,’ mentioned Dr One, as he took out his phone to call an ambulance to take Mr Bump to the hospital.
At the hospital, Dr One carried out the necessary blood tests, examined Mr Bump’s knee for any swelling or tenderness and took an X-ray. ‘We are going to need to do some more tests Mr Bump. We suspect a bone tumour on your knee bone, and therefore, I am going to need to take a small sample of cells from here, and also organise for an MRI and bone scan. This will allow me to see any abnormal areas of the bone more clearly, and if needed we shall also do a CT and PET scan of your knee. I know it all sounds very over-whelming Mr Bump, but all these tests will help us to find out what is wrong with your bones, especially your knee. We can find out what is causing this intense pain, and help treat it. You will have to bare with us and we shall have all the answers in two weeks’, explained Dr One. ‘Don’t worry, you will be fine.’ Mr Bump was speechless and scared, but knew he was in good hands. He just wished for everything to be okay.
Two weeks later, Mr Bump came back to the hospital. The pain was still intense and he hadn’t been able to have one good night’s sleep. He was really eager for some answers.
‘Come in Mr Bump,’ requested Dr One.
‘What’s going on?’ asked Mr Bump, ‘this pain is really getting me down. How can I make it go away?’
‘Mr Bump, after looking at the results of all the tests, we can confirm that what you have is a rare type of bone cancer. It is called osteosarcoma, and it develops in growing bones’, began Dr One.
‘Cancer?!!!’ exclaimed Mr Bump.
‘I’m afraid so, Mr Bump. Let me explain. Osteosarcoma is especially common in teenagers and young adults. Any bone in the body can be affected, but the most common sites are the arms or legs, especially the knee joint, which is evident in your case’, began Dr Who. ‘Pain is the most common symptom. Your X-ray showed a small tumour, which was confirmed by the biopsy. Combining all the tests, we have graded and staged your cancer, and we can offer you treatment and remove the tumour in your knee bon. This will help manage your symptoms. I am so happy that you called out to me that day in the park and we have caught the cancer at an early stage’, continued Dr One.
Mr Bump sighed. He was speechless. He felt relieved but also worried. He should have acted earlier, as soon as the pain started, but there was still hope. He felt extremely lucky that the cancer was at its early stage and treatment was available.
‘It is a rare type of cancer, Mr Bump. We can offer you a combination of treatments. Surgery is important and essential to remove the tumour in the bone. I am going to refer you to a Dr Two who will discuss the surgery options with you. You will not need chemotherapy but we may offer you radiotherapy. Dr Three, our special cancer doctor, will talk to you more about this. In some situations, if the tumour is really big, chemotherapy is offered before surgery to shrink the tumour. However, the size of your tumour is manageable and can be removed by surgery without the need of chemotherapy,’ explained Dr One. ‘Do you have any questions for me Mr Bump? I know it’s a lot to take in.’
‘What causes it?’ Mr Bump asked.
‘Ahh, unfortunately, I do not have an answer to your question. The cause is unknown, but we believe that it is related to periods of rapid bone growth and thus it is more common in adolescence. Some individuals with Paget’s disease may have been previously exposed to radiotherapy, which slightly increases their risk of bone cancer. Additionally, the risk is also increased those affected with Li-Fraumeni syndrome. It is quite a rare cancer, with only 530 new cases each year in the UK. There are many clinical trials going on in the search for the answer, Mr Bump,’ said the Doctor empathetically.
‘Now,’ he continued, ‘I know it can be very draining to take all this information in, so I’m going to give you a leaflet explaining everything about the condition. Some patients need emotional support during this distressing time and this is something that we can offer. Remember, I am always here to help you, and we will meet regularly from now. Do not be afraid to tell me how you have been feeling; I’m sure I can help you solve the matter and point you in the right direction’. Dr One smiled.
Mr Bump felt like he was in a rollercoaster. He didn’t know how to feel, but was grateful that their was treatment available. He knew it would be a tough journey, but felt lucky that he had a good support network around him.
‘Thank you Dr One,’ he said appreciatively, ‘Thank you’.
‘No problem, Mr Bump. Let me know if you need anything. I’ll just call Dr Two and then we can discuss the surgical option and the next steps with you’, explained Dr One.
As Dr One left the room, Mr Bump sat back in his chair and closed his eyes. The pain would get better. Although he felt a spark of anxiety and worry in his heart, he felt relieve that he was in good care and things would just get better from here.