Man Diagnosed With Terminal Bone Cancer After Mistaking Symptoms For Sports Injury

A young father has been diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 23, after he initially dismissed his symptoms as a bad back.

Jack Wells, from London, began experiencing pain in his shoulder when he was just 21 years old. At first, he thought it was due to a sports injury.

"I went to the gym regularly and worked at a commercial site carrying heavy goods, so I assumed it was muscle strain or inflammation. I visited my doctor and he too put it down to that," he says.

"However the pain increased and I returned to the doctors four or five times to find out what was wrong with me. Still, no one knew what was wrong."

Jack Wells with his two-year-old daughter

Nine months later, Wells' pain was so unbearable that he called an ambulance.

"My body locked and I couldn’t move with the pain. I just couldn’t work out what was wrong with me. The ambulance crew did my observations and they said everything looked okay," he says.

"They asked if I wanted to go to A&E but I felt like I would be wasting their time, so I took stronger painkillers and carried on."

Wells lived with the pain for a year, until his mum noticed a lump on his arm and intervened. She convinced him to return to doctors once again, but this time the medics realised that something was seriously wrong.

He was sent for an x-ray, biopsy and scans. At first, doctors told him he may either have a serious case of lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) or sarcoma (bone cancer).

But after further examination he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma - a rare type of bone cancer.

Jack Wells with his daughter

According to Macmillan Cancer Support, there are around 530 new cases of Ewing’s sarcoma diagnosed each year in the UK.

Pain is the most common symptom of any bone cancer. However, symptoms may vary depending on the position of the cancer in the body and its size. There may be some swelling in the affected area and it may become tender to touch.

In Wells' case, the disease had already spread to his lungs, spine and arm by the time he was diagnosed.

"When I heard I had cancer it didn’t really hit me at first. I have a two-year-old little girl so I all I thought about was getting better for her," he says.

"I started my first cycle of chemotherapy soon after I was diagnosed. The side effects were awful. I lost my hair, I always felt sick, always tired and kept sleeping and just didn't want to do anything."

After one complete cycle of chemotherapy, doctors gave Wells the devastating news that his cancer was incurable.

"I didn’t cry at first, I just remember asking my family and friends not to treat me differently. However, my main concern was my daughter and what to expect next in the coming months," he says.

Wells is now creating a memory book containing letters, photos and cards so his daughter has something to remember him by. He has also set up a GoFundMe page asking for donations towards his daughter's future.

"I want my little girl to have something to keep and see how much I love her and I think it would be the perfect way to keep memories of us close to her," he says.

"I am still having treatment to help prolong my time and although chemo is tough, I want to try and make the most of time with my daughter."

Jack is telling his story to raise awareness of the five most common signs of cancer in young people, in conjunction with Teenage Cancer Action Week.

The five signs are: pain, a lump or swelling, significant weight loss, extreme tiredness and changes in a mole.

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