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Teenager with rare cancer achieves top A-level grades at St John's School, Leatherhead
A teenager with a rare form of bone cancer has achieved top A-level grades despite undergoing chemotherapy and missing a year at school.
Tom Hazell, 19, from St John's School, in Leatherhead, is celebrating getting an A* in French, A in Spanish and A in Latin on Thursday and is off to Birmingham University to study modern languages with a music scholarship.
Tom, who said having the treatment made studying and revising for the exams harder, will find out next week if he can stop chemotherapy or whether he needs radiotherapy or surgery.
He said: "I had been hoping for high grades but didn’t expect to achieve grades as high as I did. I’m so happy to see I have managed to get the grades while on treatment."
In November 2011 at the age of just 17 Tom was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a very rare form of bone cancer which affects only 120 people a year in the UK.
He said: "It can be very difficult. When I was first diagnosed in 2011, I had to take a year off studying because the chemotherapy was too intensive."
Tom after his charity head shave
He had an emergency operation and did not know whether he would wake up with two legs or one.
Fortunately surgery was a success and a titanium alloy prosthetic implant replaced a large section of his thigh bone, knee and top of his shinbone.
He returned to full-time school in September 2012 and went into remission later that year. But on the first day of the Easter holidays this year he was told the cancer had come back in his lung.
He said: "I took all my exams and revised under chemotherapy. It was quite hard and I found it quite hard to concentrate when revising."
He said he has received great support from his friends and staff at St John’s School.
He said: "All my friends were completely amazing."
To other teenagers with cancer, he said: "If you feel that you can and have a strong enough network of friends, you can give it a go.
"It’s important to keep as normal a life as possible despite treatment."
He has raised about £18,500 for the Teenage Cancer Trust after having his head shaved at St John's School earlier this year.
To donate visit: www.virginmoneygiving.com/TomHazellTCT
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