Young cancer patient graduates from Edinburgh Napier University with highest honours

A brave student who was diagnosed with a rare cancer during her studies has graduated with a first class honours degree.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 4:45 pm

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Hayley Kane, 24, was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma shortly before her third year assessments at Edinburgh Napier University.

The rare form of cancer develops in cells around joints and tendons, often near the knee, and is most commonly associated with young adults.

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Hayley Kane, 24, was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma shortly before her third year assessments at Edinburgh Napier University. But Hayley was thrilled to have completed her degree despite the devastating diagnosis and has graduated with a first in BSc (Hons) Animal and Conservation Biology. She is set to continue her studies in September with an MSc in Statistical Ecology at the University of St Andrews.

Hayley, who had issues with her knee for almost a decade, was left in constant pain and struggling to walk without crutches.

An X-ray picked up what medics thought was a benign tumour, but after an op to remove it she was told it had been synovial sarcoma.

Brave Hayley, from Fairmilehead, Edinburgh, declined chemotherapy after two operations and instead opted 12 weeks of radiotherapy on her knee.

She was often forced to leave lectures to change the dressing on he knee due to the excessive fluid leaking from the burns on her leg.

But Hayley was thrilled to have completed her degree despite the devastating diagnosis and has graduated with a first in BSc (Hons) Animal and Conservation Biology.

She is set to continue her studies in September with an MSc in Statistical Ecology at the University of St Andrews.

Hayley said: "I'm thrilled to have completed my degree and I hope my experience will serve as inspiration to other students who may be struggling due to external factors.

"It is possible to overcome hardships and achieve your goals as long as you are willing to work for it.

"I opted not to have chemotherapy due to the potential long-term effects on my health, and went on to have 12 weeks of radiotherapy to my knee.

"Since my treatment finished I have thankfully remained cancer-free and look forward to resuming my studies at St Andrews."

Dr Gavin Ballantyne, lecturer in Edinburgh Napier's School of Applied Sciences, said: "Hayley has done brilliantly at Edinburgh Napier.

"Not only has she overcome serious health issues, but she's also remained engaged, motivated and has produced an excellent final year project.

"We're so pleased to see her graduate with a first-class degree and now go on to start an MSc at St Andrews."

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