The mum of a Torksey boy who is suffering from bone cancer is backing a national campaign to help improve early diagnosis of the disease.
Ethan Maull was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma last Christmas and started his treatment in January at Nottingham Children’s Hospital.
“His knee started hurting one day after playing racket ball with his dad,” said mum Sam.
“We went to the doctors and they told us to put an ice pack on it. But the knee started to swell and we took him back again.”
On the third visit we were sent for a X-ray, and that’s when they found out what it was.”
The Bone Cancer Research Trust (BCRT) is calling for earlier diagnosis by GPs after a new report revealed primary bone cancer survival rates have not improved in 25 years.
Survival rates for many common cancers have doubled in the past 40 years, but survival statistics for primary bone cancer remain at 54 per cent, according to the National Cancer Intelligence Network report.
Now the BCRT has teamed up with the Royal College of GPs to launch a specialist e-learning module to help doctors spot the symptoms and diagnose patients earlier.
“We waited three or four weeks, which I don’t think is too bad really,” said Sam.
“But the earlier they catch a disease like this the better, so any extra training can only be a good thing.”
“Ethan is still having treatment and is doing really well and is still fundraising.”
The two most common types of primary bone cancer are osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma which often affect children, teenagers and young adults.
Around 550 people in the UK and Ireland are diagnosed each year with primary bone cancer, which although rare, is a very aggressive form of the disease.
Professor Andy Hall, chairman of BCRT’s independent scientific advisory panel , said symptoms can include painful bones or swollen joints, which GPs can misdiagnose as a sporting injury or growing pains.
“It is vital that it is diagnosed early to give patients the best chance. The BCRT is working with GPs to raise awareness and refer patients for further investigation whenever bone cancer is a possibility.”
“The average length of time it takes for a primary bone cancer patient to receive a correct diagnosis is 16 weeks from the time when the patient first noticed their symptoms.”
“A simple X-ray, performed early, can make all the difference,” he added.