Suspected football injury uncovers 11cm cancerous tumour hidden behind knee
A 15-year-old who went into hospital thinking he had a minor football injury turned to have an 11-centimetre cancerous tumour hidden behind his knee.
Tyler Mcleod first went to hospital six weeks ago with a suspected torn meniscus after his knee joint had locked in one position, stopping him from flexing or extending his leg, but an MRI scan found he had a large mass behind knee which was physically blocking the joint.
A biopsy then revealed that an 11-centimetre cancerous tumour known as osteosarcoma – a rare cancer affecting around 30 children per year in the United Kingdom – was attached to the distal end of his femur.
His stepdad Chris Rowat said the teenager started chemotherapy about a month ago but, with the tumour continuing to grow and starting to wrap around his knee, he will have surgery to remove it within the next two weeks.
A scan this week will determine whether Tyler, from Pimlico in London, can have limb-sparing surgery or whether he will need a prosthetic leg.
Mr Rowat added: “The last few weeks have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster.
“There are moments where you ask yourself why is this happening to us.
“It is almost like grief and there is also anger and sadness, but then you get to a point where you start to accept it.
“We are just taking one day at a time and hoping for the best.”
Tyler’s mum Shirley Darlington-Rowat said a tackle during a game about two months ago left him feeling sore and stiff.
Initially, he pushed pushed through increasing pain and swelling as he had a series of football trials for various academy teams and he was highly successful despite his discomfort, with offers coming in from four different clubs, explains his GoFundMe page
However, when he started limping and had limited range of movement, they took him to a physio.
The family was then advised to go hospital as, due to the locked leg, it was considered a medical emergency and likely a torn or rotated meniscus .
The page says: “The tackle in the football game had aggravated the area and led specialists to discover the tumour weeks, possibly months earlier than might have been the case otherwise.
“We didn’t know it at the time but that tackle was a blessing in disguise.
“The cancer is aggressive and so the response must be aggressive in turn.
“The drugs are hard on the body and the side effects are devastating, now and potentially later.
“Infertility, amputation, loss of hearing, heart damage, kidney damage… the list of possibilities and complications we were presented with left little to the imagination.”
Mr Rowat said the GoFundMe page – which has so far raised more than £28,0000 – will go towards Tyler’s recovery including additional physiotherapy sessions and, if necessary, a prosthetic leg.
The page adds: “We don’t know exactly what the future holds but there is an enormous amount of hope and positivity around us right now and with this it feels like we can overcome anything.
“Tyler is still a fighter. He will pull through this and come out the other side. Tyler will play football again.
“Our motto in all of this so far has been ‘One day at a time’.”