THE family of a Swansea man who passed away with bone cancer is supporting calls for better awareness and detection rates of the illness.
Figures from the Bone Cancer Research Trust (BCRT) show that survival rates haven’t improved in 25 years unlike those for more common forms of cancer.
The charity says symptoms are often mistaken for sports injury or growing pains which means the tumour can be growing un-diagnosed for months.
Although the move comes too late to help prevent the loss suffered by the Donnelly family they have courageously spoken out to help the cause.
Paul Donnelly was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in September 2004 at the age of 16. A keen surfer bumps and bruises were common – he had a particularly persistent bump on his shin which doctors blamed on surfing.
Eventually he was sent for a scan which led to diagnosis. He had surgery, chemo and radiotherapy but sadly passed away in 2008 aged 20.
His brother Stephen said: “Teens and young adults are active so bumps, bruises and pain can get overlooked.
“I know what children are like and they are always falling over and getting bumps and bruises, so it’s not something you want to rush off to your GP with every time, but more needs to be done to raise awareness.
“It’s a rare disease that often gets overlooked but people need to be aware of the signs.”
Professor Andy Hall, chairman of BCRT’s Independent Scientific Advisory Panel , said: “The Bone Cancer Research Trust is working with GPs and other health professionals to raise awareness of the disease and refer patients for further investigation whenever bone cancer is a possibility, particularly in children and young adults.
“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.”
To help Stephen and his dad Peter raise money for the Bone cancer trust vsiit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=Donnelly6&isTeam=true