Call for earlier diagnosis for bone cancer

Caleb Hill (16) has been fighting bone cancer for the last two years. Raising awareness of the disease as part of Bone Cancer Awareness Week. (P513B341)

Caleb Hill (16) has been fighting bone cancer for the last two years. Raising awareness of the disease as part of Bone Cancer Awareness Week. (P513B341)

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A Castleford teenager, who was told his bone cancer was growing pains, is working to raise awareness of the disease to help other people.

Caleb Hill, 16, was told by his GP the pain in his leg was just growing pains, despite repeated visits in a four-month period.

It was only when his mum Dee McKenna took him to A&E in November 2011 that it was discovered Caleb had a 14cm tumour growing around his right femur. Doctors told Miss McKenna the tumour, called Ewing’s sarcoma, had been growing for over a year.

Caleb, then aged 14, had to have nearly six months of chemotherapy to shrink the tumour, before surgeons removed the tumour and most of his femur, replacing it with a titanium prothesis.

Owing to the delay in diagnosis, and the fact surgeons could only remove 70 per cent of the tumour, Caleb also had to have high-dose chemotherapy following the operation, receiving six months worth of drugs in just four days, followed by a bone marrow transplant and radiotherapy.

Ms McKenna, 46, of Chiltern Avenue, said: “Caleb has been unbelievably brave. There were a couple of times at the start where the doctors thought he might lose his leg, and he was saying, ‘take it off, give me an artificial leg and let me get on with my life’.

“For a 14-year-old to even contemplate that is amazing.”

Caleb’s treatment finished last November, but he will need regular checks for the rest of his life. As a result of his illness, the Brigshaw High School pupil has missed two years of school, and has only just returned this September to complete his GCSEs.

Miss McKenna added: “Caleb is wonderful, he just wants to get on with it, he’s just turned 16 and wants to do normal stuff with his pals.

“I think every GP surgery and school should have something targeting children and teenagers alerting them to the symptoms.”