When Camille Wahl was a child, she loved Irish step dance. She translated her love physically, becoming a competitive dancer until she was ten years old. It was then, reports CBS News, that Wahl noticed a lump on the bone of her shin. While it wasn’t debilitatingly painful, it was heavily discomfortable. So Wahl’s parents took her to the doctor. They could have never guessed that their daughter would be diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer.
Wahl’s cancer was in her right tibia; in fact, over 75% of the tibia bone was affected. The cancer had also metastasized (spread) to her lungs. But treatment seemed effective at first. However, in the eleven years since her diagnosis, Camille has relapsed multiple times. Right now, she counts her current battle as the ninth.
Just like her competitive spirit carried her through her dance, Wahl’s resilience continues to carry her through this journey. She has even joined MIB Agents, a nonprofit organization aiming to improve research, education, and treatments for pediatric osteosarcoma patients, as a Junior Advisor. No matter where her life takes her, she is sure of one thing: she will keep advocating.
Learn more about MIB Agents.
Also known as osteogenic sarcoma, osteosarcoma typically manifests in areas where bone is growing quickly, such as the shinbone, femur near the knee, or upper arm bone. Because it is more common in children and teens, osteosarcoma pain may be misdiagnosed as growing pains or growth spurts. This cancer is more common in young males than females. While the exact cause of osteosarcoma is unknown, it has been known to run in families, suggesting a hereditary component. Symptoms can include:
- Redness, tenderness, and swelling at the affected site
- Bone pain
- Limited range of motion
- Bone fractures
Treatment for osteosarcoma usually engages chemotherapy and surgery. In rarer cases, amputating the affected limb may be required.