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Tumor Removal After 27 Years: Crystal Holland

For nearly three decades, Crystal Holland of Puyallup lived with what she thought was a harmless bony bump near her left knee. “I first noticed it around age 12 or 13, and just assumed it was an extra bone,” said Crystal, 40.

Over the years, several doctors examined the unusual growth and assured Crystal that nothing was wrong. But when she began experiencing extreme leg pain in her late thirties, she asked for additional tests. She learned that the “bump” wasn’t as harmless as she’d assumed: Crystal had a rare cancer called chondrosarcoma. A form of cancer found in the bones and joints, chondrosarcomas produce cartilage and can grow slowly over time.

Because this form of cancer resists chemotherapy and radiation treatment, chondrosarcomas are treated surgically. When it was time to choose an orthopedic surgeon, Crystal searched for a local provider with a reputation for excellence in orthopedic surgeries like this one. “I did a lot of research on different surgeons, and so did my mom,” she said.

She chose orthopedic surgeon Zhiqing Xing, MD, PhD with Tacoma’s St. Joseph Medical Center. Dr. Xing performed her chondrosarcoma removal surgery in October 2020. “Dr. Xing saved my life,” said Crystal. “After so many other doctors missed this, he was able to get in and remove the cancer before it got worse.”

Crystal hopes others will learn from her story and check with an orthopedic specialist about any unusual bumps or growths they may have. “Dr. Xing is truly an expert at what he does,” she said. “He made me feel safe, and he did an excellent job.”  To learn more or make an appointment with Dr. Xing, please call 253-274-7504.