Bone cancer

When 6-year-old Darya Egorova was
first diagnosed with bone cancer –
doctors told her parents there was a
good chance they would have to
amputate her leg. But thanks to a
revolutionary new procedure — that
took less than three hours — the
Russian girl is cancer free.

Originally Darya was diagnosed by
Russian doctors who told her parents
they had very few treatment options
that would allow her to stay mobile. Her
parents were devastated, but a
Russian cancer charity, Grant Life,
changed all that, when they
volunteered to help pay for a new
procedure in Britain.

Darya and her parents traveled to the
Harley Street Clinic in London where
doctors removed 4 inches of cancer-
ridden bone from her right shin
including a 2-inch tumor. The bone
was then blasted with very high doses
of radiotherapy and reinserted back
into her leg.

Two days after the pioneering surgery,
Darya attempted to walk with crutches,
and left hospital within a week. Now,
one year later, she’s standing tall,
dancing, playing sports and enjoying

Doctors said over the next two years,
the healthy bone will grow through the
dead bone, and bring it back to life.

The £70,000 operation was funded by
Russian cancer charity Grant Life.

Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that
starts in the bones. Every year, about
400 children in the United States are
diagnosed with the cancer.
Most tumors develop in the bones
around the knee, either in the distal
femur (the lower part of the thigh
bone) or the proximal tibia (the upper
part of the large lower leg bone).

According to the University of Texas
Cancer Center, treatment usually
begins with chemotherapy, then
surgery, then post-surgery treatment
(chemotherapy, radiation and
sometimes hormone or biological
therapy). These post-surgery
treatments ensure the remaining
cancer cells have been completely
destroyed. In the past, before
technological advances and medical
breakthroughs, amputation was the
only option.
Nowadays, doctors aim to save the
child's leg and safely remove the tumor
without amputating the leg.

Today, there is a newer alternative: a
femoral prostheses that grows with the
patient. The device can be adjusted
for patient growth by heating the
plastic structure of the implant, which
uncoils an internal spring and
stretches the patient's leg to the
appropriate length.

A benefit of this newer replacement is
that multiple operations are not
necessary as the child grows and
develops. The prosthesis can be
adjusted just a few millimeters at a
time. This feature makes the implant
especially attractive for younger
patients who still have some growing to
Unfortunately, many insurance
companies do not cover the
prosthesis, and the cost is around

Federal regulators will conduct a rapid
review of Amgen's treatment for bone
damage suffered by cancer patients.

That means a decision on denosumab
(Prolia)  from the Food and Drug
Administration will come within six
months, or by Nov. 18, rather than the
usual waiting period of 10 months.
Denosumab could be a huge seller for
Amgen. Last month, the company
began selling the drug under the name
Prolia as a treatment for
postmenopausal women who are at a
high risk of bone fracture. Applying the
treatment to cancer patients would
increase the drug's usage greatly.