Young woman misdiagnosed with stress faces life without her leg

Woman, 32, who was told by a doctor she had hives due to work stress was shocked to be diagnosed with cancer – and needed her left leg amputated

  • Mitera Balkaran, 32, noticed a small, painless lump on her leg and went to her GP
  • The mechanical engineer in Belgium was misdiagnosed with hives due to stress
  • However, she had soft tissue sarcoma and has had to have her leg amputated  

A woman who was told she had hives due to stress at work was shocked to be diagnosed with cancer that resulted in having her left leg amputated. 

Mitera Balkaran, 32, was working as a mechanical engineer in Belgium when she was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma in 2021, after she developed a lump in her leg which grew bigger and bigger.

Mitera first noticed a small, painless lump on her leg and went to her local GP. 

She was told it was just hives due to work stress, until six weeks later she noticed the lump had grown and she had lost all sensation in that leg.

Mitera Balkaran, 32, (pictured) was misdiagnosed with stress-induced hives by her GP. By the time she received her cancer diagnosis she had just two weeks to decide whether to have her leg amputated 

She decided to go to a different GP and after an ultrasound and MRI scan, was told she had a form of soft tissue sarcoma called Undifferentiated Pleomorphic High-Grade Sarcoma (UPS).

Mitera was diagnosed in August 2021 and was able to beat it initially, until she was told the cancer had returned in May 2022.

As her cancer had returned, Mitera required extreme treatment in order to fight it off again, including aggressive chemotherapy, lung surgery and perhaps the most life changing, having her leg amputated.

Mitera said: ‘I was in shock. I went into the consultation with the worst case scenarios in my head but amputation was never a thought I had.

Mitera was working as a mechanical engineer in Belgium when she was diagnosed with soft tissues sarcoma in 2021. She is pictured here following her amputation 

She noticed a small, painless lump in her leg, which after six weeks grew bigger and bigger. She initially beat beat the cancer in August 2021 but was told it had returned in May 2022

‘I was able to keep a straight face but I broke down in tears as soon as I got home after the appointment.’

After a few days, Mitera decided to fight the cancer and enjoy the last days she had with both of her legs. 

Her husband took her to Greece, and the couple enjoyed some activities that will never be the same without both legs.

Mitera adds: ‘It was a roller coaster of emotions for me. I kept looking at everyone’s legs and thinking how lucky they are. 

Mitera and her husband Konstantine (pictured) decided to go on holiday to Greece and take part in activities that would never be the same without both legs, including swimming in the ocean and long walks 

Mitera is pictured here with friends following her amputation. She wonders if her GP had correctly diagnosed her from the start, would she still have her leg 

A scan of Mitera’s leg showing the tumour. Her next steps will be an 18 week regime of aggressive chemotherapy, followed by surgery to remove the tumours which have spread

‘I took a swim in the ocean on the last day of the trip and walked everywhere as much as possible.’

Looking back at her first trip to the GP she wonders whether if she had been taken seriously, she would still have her leg today.  

She explains: ‘I started documenting my journey on TikTok to leave behind my memories in case I passed on.

‘I also realised that there isn’t enough content out there for Sarcoma so this was also my motivation.

‘People think everything will be normal again for me and that’s not true at all. 

‘I will create a new normal for myself, but it will never be the same normal that I’ve had for the past 32 years.’

Mitera’s next steps will be an 18 week regime of aggressive chemotherapy, followed by surgery to remove the tumours which have spread over her body including in her lungs. 

After she recovers, she will then be able to start rehabilitation for her leg and practice using a prosthetic leg.

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