The Facts About Bone Cancer
Notice the abnormal growth of cells in the picture above which indicates cancer.
The Most Common Types of Bone Cancers :
- Osteosarcoma, which arises from osteoid tissue in the bone. This tumor occurs most often in the knee and upper arm (1).
- Chondrosarcoma, which begins in cartilaginous tissue. Cartilage pads the ends of bones and lines the joints. Chondrosarcoma occurs most often in the pelvis (located between the hip bones), upper leg, and shoulder. Sometimes a chondrosarcoma contains cancerous bone cells. In that case, doctors classify the tumor as an osteosarcoma.
- The Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors (ESFTs), which usually occur in bone but may also arise in soft tissue (muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, or other supporting tissue). Scientists think that ESFTs arise from elements of primitive nerve tissue in the bone or soft tissue (2). ESFTs occur most commonly along the backbone and pelvis and in the legs and arms (3).
What are bone cancer symptoms and signs?The most common symptom of bone tumors is pain. In most cases, the symptoms become gradually more severe with time, including bone pain. Initially, the pain may only be present either at night or with activity. Depending on the growth of the tumor, those affected may have symptoms for weeks, months, or years before seeking medical advice. In some cases, a mass or lump may be felt either on the bone or in the tissues surrounding the bone. This is most common with MFH or fibrosarcoma but can occur with other bone tumors. The bones can become weakened by the tumor and lead to a fracture after little or no trauma or just from standing on the affected bone. This can occur with both benign and malignant tumors. Even benign tumors can spread locally and weaken the surrounding bone. If the tumor compresses the surrounding nerve it can cause pain, numbness, or tingling in the extremities. If the surrounding blood vessels are compressed, it can affect the blood flow to the extremities. Fever, chills, night sweats, and weight loss can occur but are less common. These symptoms are more common after spread of the tumor to other tissues in the body.
What are the possible causes of bone cancer?Although bone cancer does not have a clearly defined cause, researchers have identified several factors that increase the likelihood of developing these tumors. Osteosarcoma occurs more frequently in people who have had high-dose external radiation therapy or treatment with certain anticancer drugs; children seem to be particularly susceptible. A small number of bone cancers are due to heredity. For example, children who have had hereditary retinoblastoma (an uncommon cancer of the eye) are at a higher risk of developing osteosarcoma, particularly if they are treated with radiation. Additionally, people who have hereditary defects of bones and people with metal implants, which doctors sometimes use to repair fractures, are more likely to develop osteosarcoma (4). Ewing sarcoma is not strongly associated with any heredity cancer syndromes, congenital childhood diseases, or previous radiation exposure (2).
What are the treatment options for bone cancer?Treatment options depend on the type, size, location, and stage of the cancer, as well as the person’s age and general health. Treatment options for bone cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and cryosurgery.
- Surgery is the usual treatment for bone cancer. The surgeon removes the entire tumor with negative margins (no cancer cells are found at the edge or border of the tissue removed during surgery). The surgeon may also use special surgical techniques to minimize the amount of healthy tissue removed with the tumor.
Dramatic improvements in surgical techniques and preoperative tumor treatment have made it possible for most patients with bone cancer in an arm or leg to avoid radical surgical procedures (removal of the entire limb). However, most patients who undergo limb-sparing surgery need reconstructive surgery to maximize limb function (1).
- Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. Patients who have bone cancer usually receive a combination of anticancer drugs. However, chemotherapy is not currently used to treat chondrosarcoma (1).
- Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, involves the use of high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. This treatment may be used in combination with surgery. It is often used to treat chondrosarcoma, which cannot be treated with chemotherapy, as well as ESFTs (1). It may also be used for patients who refuse surgery.
- Cryosurgery is the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze and kill cancer cells. This technique can sometimes be used instead of conventional surgery to destroy the tumor (1).
This video educates us on how bone cancer is diagnosed. To learn more about bone cancer then go to the following websites :