THE family of Tom Prince is supporting a campaign to spot the symptoms of bone cancer early.
Tom, from Southsea, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in February 2003 after having pain in the top of his left arm.
He had chemotherapy and various operations to remove the tumours. He died on October 18, 2004 – the day before his 16th birthday.
Tom’s cancer had already spread to his lungs once he was diagnosed.
But his family feels if it had been caught sooner things may have been different.
Tom’s dad, Clinton Prince, said: ‘We’ve said for a long time that a GP only comes across a case of osteosarcoma once in his lifetime.
‘That gives you an idea of how rare it is.
‘Early diagnosis is critical because in Tom’s case they put it down to a sports injury.
‘It was misdiagnosed several times.’
It is hoped that if GPs had more understanding of osteosarcoma, they would refer patients to specialists earlier which would lead to better outcomes.
The Tom Prince Cancer Trust was set up in 2004 to help support families and keep Tom’s memory alive. It aims to raise £1m to fund research into osteosarcoma.
Now the Bone Cancer Research Trust (BCRT) has teamed up with the Royal College of GPs to launch an e-learning module to help doctors spot the symptoms and diagnose patients earlier.
The news comes during Bone Cancer Awareness Week, which runs until Saturday.
Professor Andy Hall, chairman of BCRT’s Independent Scientific Advisory Panel, said: ‘Primary bone cancer is, thankfully, very rare but it is vital that it is diagnosed early to give patients the best chance of survival.
‘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.’