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​​Image of Dr. Raj Rampersaud and Dr. Jay Wunder
Dr. Raj Rampersaud (left), orthopedic surgeon at KNC and Dr. Jay Wunder of Mount Sinai Hospital collaborate to remove a tumour embedded in Alfaan Manji’s spine.​ (Photo: Dr. Raj Rampersaud​)

Alfaan Manji, 35, was on his honeymoon when he noticed the pain in his legs. They tingled when he went swimming, and he couldn't walk properly.

An avid athlete, Manji was used to injuries. He assumed this was related to a herniated disc in his back from several hockey seasons ago. Just to be sure, upon returning home he went to his doctor.

Less than three months after the honeymoon, Manji was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, an extremely rare cartilage cancer. The tumour was the size of a medium Tim Hortons cup, and it was nestled against the right side of his spine.

More concerning, doctors told the couple traditional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, would not be effective for this type of cancer.

"The doctor basically told us that the only option was surgery," says Manji's wife, Zahra Kaba, also 35. "Which was very scary, because (the tumour) was so close to his spine."

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