Woman's leg pain was tumour sign: 'My knee bone shattered on the toilet'

A split image of Bethany Eason who had a Giant Cell Tumour
A biopsy confirmed that Bethany Eason had what's known as a giant cell tumour. (SWNS)

A woman who was told she would never walk again after a giant cell tumour (GCT) caused her knee bones to shatter has defied all odds.

Bethany Eason, 26, sat down on a toilet seat to rest when suddenly her knee bones fractured.

"I had pain in my knee on and off intermittently but, being 19, I was blasé and thought it would be fine," Eason, from the Wirral, Liverpool, says. "It would get worse, then would go back to normal, then get worse again.

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"I went to college one day, came home and my knee was sore when I got upstairs, so I sat down on the toilet seat, and it just shattered. I felt this immense pain and it was almost like a pop, it was really traumatic."

Once in hospital, a biopsy confirmed that the spontaneous fracture was caused by a giant cell tumour in her knee which had weakened the bones and surrounding soft tissue.

Bethany Eason had to have surgery on her knee to reconstruct the bone. (SWNS)
Bethany Eason had to have surgery on her knee to reconstruct the bone. (SWNS)

Eason had to have her knee and thigh bone removed and replaced, and was told by doctors that she’d likely never retain full mobility.

"I was heartbroken – I used to dance, run and swim and thought I would never be able to do those things again,” Eason says.

"At that moment in time you don’t see a way out – I was told when I had surgery that 99% of patients wouldn’t have full mobility after surgery. I said, 'Well, 1% can and I can be that 1% and prove you wrong' and I did."

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She adds: "I was told I couldn’t wear heels again and I thought, 'No one tells me I can't wear heels.'"

Eason regained mobility after seven weeks of intensive physiotherapy and a year of strengthening exercises she did at home.

What are giant cell tumours?

Giant cell tumours (GCT) are non-cancerous (benign) tumours that can develop in the bone, according to the charity Sarcoma UK.

They are most likely to affect people aged between 20 and 45 and are found on long bones in the arms and legs.

GCTs make up around four-five percent of all tumours that start in the bone and affect around one person in every one million per year.

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Signs and symptoms of giant cell tumours

According to Sarcoma UK, the most common signs and symptoms of GCT are:

  • Pain

  • Swelling around the tumour

  • Fractures in the bone caused by bone weakness

  • Restricted movement

How to treat giant cell tumours

Depending on the size of the tumour and the patient’s individual situation, treatment can involve surgery or an injection called Denosumab.

Watch: A former national gymnast paralysed after freak accident learns to walk again