MUM Sarah Taylor instinctively knew something was wrong when her daughter began suffering pains in her leg.
And it was her insistence that doctors X-ray the limb that led to the discovery that 14-year-old Sophie Wearn was seriously ill.
Sophie had been suffering pain since banging her right leg during a swimming session.
But when doctors couldn’t work out what the problem was, Sarah insisted they investigate further, suspecting a broken bone.
The resulting X-ray revealed something far worse – a tumour caused by a cancer that is known for being difficult to spot.
Sarah, of Highgate Road, Copnor, Portsmouth, said: ‘Sophie just wasn’t walking properly and her leg was extremely tender.
‘My first thought was that it was a broken bone or something. It never entered my head that it could have been cancer, but thank God we did it, or we may not have known until it was too late.
‘She’d always been so healthy and was rarely sick, so it was such a shock.’
Sophie was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare type of cancer mostly found in teenagers that is often hard for doctors to diagnose.
Sophie has made regular trips to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, Southampton General Hospital and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London.
After chemotherapy treatment she had an operation to remove the tumour. Doctors warned her that she may have to lose a leg during the procedure.
Sophie said: ‘The surgeons said I might wake up and might not have my leg. It was really worrying but they said they would try their very best not to go down that route
‘When I woke up I was kind of drowsy and I felt around and I could feel my leg under my hand.
‘I was set up in bed with my good leg tucked under me and my mum said her heart stopped when she walked in and could only see one leg on the bed.’
Her mum added: ‘It was frightening. We still don’t know whether she will have to go in and have another operation. They are hoping she can get back into things but they need to see whether they have removed enough of the tumour.’
The family now want to help raise awareness of osteocarma. The most common symptoms are pain, swelling or tenderness, which in active young people are similar to more minor injuries.