Gym goers sore knee turned out to be a rare and aggressive cancer

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A fit and healthy woman was diagnosed with a rare cancer after suffering from a sore knee for months.

Regular gym goer, Amy Haigh, didn’t get her knee checked for six months believing the pain was caused by a sports injury.

However, the 27-year-old from Auckland in New Zealand was actually suffering from osteosarcoma – an aggressive type of bone cancer.

She finally sought help when the pain worsened and her knee started to swell.

The former early childhood educator said: “I thought that it was a sports injury originally.

“I had visited two physiotherapists, a chiropractor and an osteopath and was following their instructions and doing exercises but my leg wasn’t improving.”

In June 2022, as Amy prepared for a bikini competition, the pain started to get worse and her knee swelled up.

She said: “I had a dull ache I couldn’t get rid of. I had one session with a personal trainer who told me to get an MRI.”

A doctor confirmed that Amy had a tumour on the end of her femur, close to the knee joint.

Amy was officially diagnosed in October after her biopsy that saw the bone sample taken with a drill in her knee.

She said: “I was sent for a second MRI and CT scan, but a few days later I was sent for a biopsy where they put me under, cut my leg open and drilled into the bone to take a sample.

“It was confirmed two weeks exactly after that that I had cancer. I started chemo a week after that.

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“I’m glad I listened to my instincts and kept pushing for answers. I also feel lucky that I am so in tune with my body and knew that something wasn’t right.”

In January she had surgery to remove the cancerous part of the femur.

The surgery took around eight hours and surgeons removed part of the bone that was cancerous.

It was replaced with a donor’s bone from the USA – now one plate and 11 screws hold that part of her leg together.

During the surgery, Amy lost two litres of blood and had to stay in hospital for eight days but the surgery was successful.

Amy said: “I’ve been very up and down. The big surgery was very difficult.

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“The first surgery was hard in itself. I went from being in the gym five days a week, horse riding, walking my dogs, working with children to suddenly not being able to do any of that.

“I had to go on crutches after my biopsy which made work very hard.”

Ultimately she felt she had to leave her job due to her condition.

During the three rounds of chemo, Amy became incredibly weak as her immune system and body began to feel the effects of the radiation.

“I was vomiting, sleeping all the time and being so weak I could hardly lift my head off the couch.

“I lost my hair due to the very strong chemotherapy drugs they had me on.

“That was a horrendous and very traumatic experience, something I may never be over – even once my hair comes back to its original length.

“I was such an independent, carefree and spirited person who suddenly couldn’t do anything for herself.

“My partner had to help me shower and dress after my operations. I had to rely on others for food and water as I couldn’t get these things for myself.”

Amy also underwent a second surgery to remove the tumour.

In March this year doctors and oncologists told her that she was cancer free.

According to the NHS, bone cancer is a rare type of cancer that only affects around 550 people in the UK every year.

The main symptoms include:

  • Persistent bone pain that gets worse over time and continues into the night
  • Swelling and redness (inflammation) over a bone, which can make movement difficult if the affected bone is near a joint
  • A noticeable lump over a bone
  • A weak bone that breaks (fractures) more easily than normal
  • Problems moving around – for example, walking with a limp.

If you experience any unexplained symptoms you should speak to your doctor.

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