Surviving Sarcoma at Age 20

Ariane was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma at the young age of 20.

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Ariane knew nothing about sarcoma, which is not surprising considering that these types of soft tissue and bone cancers account for only 1% of adult cancers. Sarcomas are rare, ill-known and often misdiagnosed cancers, which unfortunately reduces the chances of survival for affected patients.

Life after the diagnosis, like a bad dream

Ariane’s Radius affected by a sarcoma ( April 15, 2019)

On December 25th, Ariane and her parents were in the office of Dr. Robert Turcotte, an orthopaedic surgeon at the McGill University Health Centre.

When the words “cancer” and “sarcoma” were uttered, she and her parents fell apart. She had just started her first semester of university…Will she die? She immediately thinks of her paternal grandmother, who also died of cancer. “I felt sorry for my father. I couldn’t imagine a world where you lose your mother and daughter to this disease,” she recalls.

Ariane’s Radius mostly removed after surgery (April 26, 2021)

Ariane was soon under the care of McGill Sarcoma, a multidisciplinary team of experts specializing in sarcomas, supported by the Montreal General Hospital Foundation and led by Dr. Robert Turcotte. Dr. Turcotte himself performed the surgery to remove Ariane’s tumour and part of her radius.

“Ariane showed remarkable determination and optimism that allowed her to overcome all the challenges of her tumour treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and rehabilitation.”

– Dr. Robert Turcotte, Orthopaedic Surgeon

McGill Sarcoma : An Exceptional Team

“I have witnessed Ariane’s journey through many challenges, both physical and emotional. Ariane is a remarkable young person who faced her diagnosis, treatments, surgery and radiation therapy with courage and hope. I feel very privileged that I was able to support her during this very difficult chapter in her life.”

– Judy Hughes, IPO nurse

Relying on the community

When a patient is diagnosed with sarcoma, his or her entire life is turned upside down, and everyone around him or her, friends and family, is affected in some way by the disease.

“Cancer has affected every part of my life: my physical and mental health, my social relationships, my sex life…” explains Ariane.

To help her “accept her illness,” Ariane had weekly meetings with a psychologist. She also joined several online communities, such as The Cancer Patient, to better understand her sarcoma and to surround herself with young cancer patients who support and help each other overcome the disease. “I have met some wonderful people in this beautiful wheel of support. We talk to each other about our difficulties, exchange jokes and tips to get through. Together, we learn to live with cancer, and maybe even die with it.”

Supporting Research, Supporting Life

Ariane is most grateful to the McGill Sarcoma team that treated her. She has one hope for the future: that as many people as possible will support sarcoma research so that new treatments can be developed and patients’ chances of survival can increase.

“When you support McGill Sarcoma, you also provide help and resources to patients like me. In an event as traumatic as being diagnosed with sarcoma, this is essential.”