Doctors said my ‘constant’ knee pain was just a torn ligament – but actually it was a deadly bone cancer
- 19-year-old from Northampton left in excruciating pain from osteosarcoma
- Misdiagnosed with a torn ligament the tumour was left to grow for months
- Now, diagnosed with bone cancer a fundraiser has been set to help
- Readers wishing to donate to her fund can do so here
Doctors desperately tried to reassure Georgia Williams that her crippling knee pain was merely a torn ligament.
So, the 19-year-old was horrified to discover the ‘horrendous’ agony she’d endured for months was actually a deadly bone cancer.
Excruciating pain caused by the aggressive tumour, an osteosarcoma, left Georgia struggling to walk and even sleep.
Georgia, of Northampton, now faces a gruelling two years of treatment, consisting of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. Limb amputation could be a last-ditch resort.
Georgia Williams, 19, pictured, was originally told her agonising pain was due to a torn ligament. But she later found out it was bone cancer
Georgia, of Northampton, now faces a gruelling two years of treatment, consisting of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. Limb amputation could be a last-ditch resort
The teenager, who was diagnosed last week, first sought help for her knee pain in September.
But she was ‘turned away’ by A&E doctors despite being in agony.
Her mother Janine, 43, told MailOnline: ‘They told her that she had got a lack of muscle on one side of the knee.
‘They refused to give her any scans.’
Describing her daughter’s plight, Janine told MailOnline: ‘She couldn’t sleep, I was sitting by her bedside.
‘Nothing we did helped.’
As Georgia’s agony worsened, causing her sleepless nights, she went back to A&E.
Eventually after pushing to get an MRI scan, doctors told her she had a torn ligament and a fractured knee cap.
What is osteosarcoma?
Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer. It is more common in older children over five and in teenagers.
The cancer often starts at the end of long bones, where new tissue forms as the bone grows.
The most common sites for the tumour to grow are in the arms and legs, particularly around the knee and shoulder joints.
What are the symptoms?
- Persistent bone pain that gets worse over time.
- Difficulty moving a joint due to swelling and redness over a bone.
- A noticeable lump over a bone.
- Problems walking, such as having a limp.
- A weak bone that breaks more easily.
How is it treated?
- Chemotherapy, a cancer-killing medicine is used to shrink the tumour.
- Radiotherapy is also used to destroy cancerous cells.
- Surgery can be used to remove the section of cancerous bone. And it is often possible to replace the bone that has been removed.
- But amputation is sometimes necessary. If the cancer has spread to beyond a bone to blood vessels or nerves or if it is impossible to remove just the cancerous section.
Later, a doctor spotted something unusual on the same scan and sent it to a specialist, but Georgia and Janine claim they were not informed.
Two weeks later, Georgia received a text message telling her that her MRI scan had been referred to her hospital’s bone sarcoma department.
It was followed up with an email about bone cancer, explaining she needed to make an appointment by following a link.
Appalled by the insensitive communication, Janine, a carer, assumed it was a mistake and visited the hospital.
But they confirmed her worst fears that Georgia had cancer.
Still waiting on results to find out what stage the cancer is at, Georgia only knows that the cancer has not spread to the lungs.
Janine said: ‘A little bit of communication with us wouldn’t have hurt. She is 19, that’s terrifying.’
Within days of being diagnosed, Georgia was visiting Northampton General Hospital to see a specialist consultant who had travelled from the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London.
Angry the tumour was not found sooner, Georgia wants to raise awareness of bone cancer.
Around 160 Brits are diagnosed with osteosarcoma every year, charities say.
In the US about 1,000 cases area diagnosed each year.
It begins in cells that form bones, called osteoblasts.
Tumours usually start at the end of long bones where new bone tissue forms as a young person grows, such as knee and shoulder joints, according to the NHS.
Although pain at the site of the tumour can initially come and go, the NHS says the pain can become more severe and constant especially at night.
Symptoms can be confused with common problems such as a sports injury or growing pains, according to the charity Sarcoma UK.
A fundraising page, set up by a friend, has received some donations to help with travel costs and to help pay expenses such as Georgia’s phone bill.
Janine, who is a single parent to three children and a carer, says just getting to the hospital appointment in London cost her £100 and she hopes the Gofundme page will help give Georgia ‘some sort of a life’.
The page said: ‘Georgia has been back and forth in constant agony with her knee which was misdiagnosed as a torn ligament.’
Janine added: ‘She is sick all the time, tired all the time.
‘It is literally draining her of everything, and she has got one hell of a battle on her hands now.
‘She had to leave her job and being 19 she has got things to pay like phone bills. I am a single parent of three children, I struggle.’
Janine, who has previously battled with breast cancer herself, added: ‘Georgia is going to need things to try and perk her up.
‘There is the possibility that through chemo she will lose her hair and those wigs are extortionate.
‘The money will make her life easier and more stress free.
‘She really deserves it, she is the most giving person, she does anything for anyone and she goes above and beyond. She is amazing.’
Readers wishing to donate to Georgia’s fund can do so via GoFundMe here.
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