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30 Jul

Rare, invisible and deadly. If predictors of all cancers, rare and less common cancers are visible, there would not be any need for medical researchers, scientists and oncologists. Personally, these are now pandemic health issues. Urgency is required to fast track, genuine target therapies treatments, personalised medicines for rare and less common cancers now. I would like cancers to be eradicated totally because of the countless and precious human lives lost. The disease itself, the intense current treatments which are harsh, life limiting, crippling and at times failed, has devastating toll on the lives of those going through this, and the effects on loved ones, families, carers and friends. And the huge financial burden on the person, families, country and globally. So no one or country is exempted from cancer.

Andrew had Chondroblastic Osteosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer. If there were warning signs and symptoms to alert us, perhaps Andrew would be here with us today. The only sign before ground zero was when Andrew broke his left femur.

When we talk about warning signs and symptoms, there were none. However the events leading to ground zero is vitally important and to be aware of. Going to your doctor early is very important. The only way we knew that it was a rare bone cancer called Chondroblastic Osteosarcoma was a bone biopsy taken from Andrew. So it is down to the molecular structure of our humans cells, where the variant of chondroblast was dominant. Our DNA captures our diseases and has our cancer markers. Guilt and blame have an ugly way of creeping into our human psyche. For we question what we have done or what we have missed. I remembered clearly Andrew saying, “maybe I should have drunk more milk” when he was given the diagnosis. To all those going through their cancer journey, we truly understand what you too have experienced.

In Andrew’s situation, the physical signs were of sports injury, sprained left ankle, overextension of his left knee following initial sports injury. Visits to the local doctor several times, apart from x-rays to confirm miniscule tear on his left knee, there was nothing remarkable according to the doctor’s report. However after a referral and seen by an orthopaedic surgeon, an MRI of Andrew’s left knee was done. While waiting for his next appointment for the result with the orthopaedic surgeon, Andrew was experiencing symptoms of increasing gradual pains at night-time, and even at rest. A firm lump above his left knee was getting larger. He was now walking with a noticeable limp. I say gradual because it did not present itself in the acute sense, and hit you with anything suspicious. After all it was a sports injury, and not all sports injuries would present or turn into cancer. Tragically it did for Andrew, when he broke his left femur.

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