According to a story from Duke Cancer Institute, Chantal Rose-Denman, age 44, has been a runner ever since she was a teenager. 17 years ago she made the switch to competitive long distance running. She participated in several marathons before going even further and doing ultramarathons. During these events, participants may run 50 miles at a time. However, her passion for running was disrupted when she received an unexpected diagnosis: osteosarcoma.
Osteosarcoma is a type of rare bone cancer that most commonly appears in teens and young adults. While rare, it is nevertheless the most common type of cancer to originate in bone in humans. Risk factors for this type of cancer include family history, exposure to radiation, previous bone diseases, Rothmund-Thomson syndrome, and Li-Fraumeni syndrome. Osteosarcoma often appears near areas where bone is growing; in young people, the area near the knee is commonly affected. Signs and symptoms of this cancer may include pain around the affected area that may worsen at night, a sudden breakage that occurs without much pressure (the disease weakens bone structure and makes breaks much more likely), or a swollen area. Treatment for osteosarcoma often includes surgical removal of the affected bone, chemotherapy, and the drug mifamurtide. Survival rate varies considerably depending on the circumstances of the case, but rates of long term survival have increased in recent years. To learn more about osteosarcoma, click here.
Chantal had a rare form of the cancer that appeared on her femur and began to grow rapidly. Surgery was the best option for getting rid of the tumor, but it would require the replacement of her knee joint as well as most of her femur. She also received cisplatin and doxorubicin, which is the standard chemotherapy regimen for osteosarcoma. Chantal endured six rounds of chemo, more surgery, and a serious infection.
She is currently on the mend, and her recovery continues with physical therapy to help restore her range of motion. Chantal recently was invited to participate and speak at the 10th Annual Strike Out for Sarcoma 5K & Family Fun Walk, a fundraising event organized by Duke Cancer Institute’s sarcoma program. Although she is still just walking, Chantal’s ultimate goal is to one day be able to run once again.