Mr Coonoor Chandrasekar is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital with a dedication to raising awareness of primary bone cancer. We caught up with him to find out more about his views on the importance of awareness and quality information.
Why is it so important to raise a greater awareness and understanding of primary bone cancer?
Common primary bone cancers like Osteosarcoma and Ewing's sarcoma occur in children and young adults who are otherwise fit and healthy. Often, these cancers are mistaken for benign conditions like a 'pulled muscle', sprain, sports injury, haematoma etc. Once a benign (non-cancerous) diagnosis label is given it becomes difficult to get to the real diagnosis of a primary bone cancer.
Awareness of red-flag signs such as bone pain, bony swelling, night pain or pain which does not respond to common pain killers, should warrant urgent GP consultation, investigation and the appropriate early referral for optimum management.
How can high-quality information about primary bone cancer help doctors and healthcare professionals?
Doctors and other healthcare professionals are overwhelmed with the rapid advances in medical knowledge, investigations, guidelines, treatment options, possible complications and the threat of litigation. Healthcare professionals are not walking computers or detectives who can spot any obscure diagnosis.
Medicine and diagnosis in general practice is more complex, and no trained healthcare professional deliberately sets out to miss or delay a cancer diagnosis. Therefore increasing the awareness of primary bone cancers red-flag signs is crucial to aid earlier diagnosis.
Providing high quality information and education about primary bone cancers is a key strategy. The information should be reliable, uncomplicated and easily accessible. The efforts by the Bone Cancer Research Trust to provide quality information, support and promote endeavours to raise awareness will help early diagnosis and, ultimately, the cure of bone cancers.
The 'here and now' priority is education and awareness. Any small step we take together to raise public and professional awareness may help someone, who we may never know, not only in the UK, but also around the world.
One strategy the Bone Cancer Research Trust are taking to provide education to medical students is through projects like the National Sarcoma Awareness Project, funded by the BCRT and led by Mr Chandrasekar.