Bone Cancer: Symptoms and Treatment

Although bone cancer can begin in any bone in the body, it is in the pelvis or long bones of the arms and legs. Bone cancer is extremely rare, accounting for less than 1% of all cancers. Indeed, benign bone tumors are far more prevalent than malignant bone tumors.

The term “bone cancer” does not refer to cancers that start elsewhere in the body and spread to the bone (metastasize). 

Certain types of bone cancer are more prevalent in children, while others are more prevalent in adults. The most common treatment is surgical amputation, but chemotherapy and radiation therapy may also use.

Types

  • Chondrosarcoma
  • Sarcoma of Ewing
  • Osteosarcoma

Symptoms

Symptoms and signs include the following:

  • Bone ache
  • Swelling and tenderness near the affected area
  • Bone deterioration, resulting in fracture
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

When to consult a physician

Consult your physician if you or your kid gets bone pain that:

  • Arrives and departs
  • At night, the condition deteriorates
  • It is not alleviated by over-the-counter analgesics

Causes

The majority of bone malignancies have no recognized cause. A small proportion of bone malignancies have been connected to hereditary factors, whereas others link to prior radiation exposure.

Bone cancers classify according to the type of cell in which cancer began. The most prevalent kinds are as follows:

Osteosarcoma. The most frequent type of bone cancer is osteosarcoma. The malignant cells in this tumor generate bone. This type found in children and young adults, usually in the leg or arm bones. In extremely rare instances, osteosarcomas can develop outside of the bones (extraskeletal osteosarcomas).

Chondrosarcoma. Chondrosarcoma is the second most prevalent type of bone cancer after osteoporosis. The malignant cells in this tumor create cartilage. Chondrosarcoma typically develops in middle-aged and older adults in the pelvis, legs, or arms.

Sarcoma of Ewing. Ewing sarcoma tumors most frequently develop in children and young adults’ pelvis, legs, or arms.

Factors of danger

Although the etiology of bone cancer is unknown, scientists have discovered numerous risk factors, including the following:

  • Genetic syndromes inherited. Certain rare genetic abnormalities, such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome and hereditary retinoblastoma, increase the risk.
  • Paget’s bone disease. Paget’s disease of bone, which is most prevalent in elderly persons, can raise the risk of developing bone cancer later in life.
  • Cancer radiation treatment. Exposure to high doses of radiation, such as those used in cancer treatment increases the risk of developing in the future.

Causes

The majority of bone malignancies have no recognized cause. A small proportion of bone malignancies have been connected to hereditary factors, whereas others link to prior exposure to radiation.

Bone cancer types

  • Osteosarcoma. The most frequent type of bone cancer is osteosarcoma. The malignant cells in this tumor generate bone. This type of bone cancer found in children and young adults, usually in the leg or arm bones. In extremely rare instances, osteosarcomas can develop outside of the bones (extraskeletal osteosarcomas)
  • Chondrosarcoma. Chondrosarcoma is the second most prevalent type of bone cancer after osteoporosis. The malignant cells in this tumor create cartilage. Chondrosarcoma typically develops in middle-aged and older adults in the pelvis, legs, or arms.
  • Sarcoma of Ewing. Ewing sarcoma tumors most frequently develop in children and young adults’ pelvis, legs, or arms.

Factors of danger

Although the etiology of bone cancer is unknown, scientists have discovered numerous risk factors, including the following:

  • Genetic syndromes inherited. Certain rare genetic abnormalities, such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome and hereditary retinoblastoma, increase the risk of bone cancer.
  • Paget’s bone disease. Paget’s disease of bone, which is most prevalent in elderly persons, can raise the risk of developing bone cancer later in life.
  • Cancer radiation treatment. Exposure to high doses of radiation, such as those used in cancer treatment increases the risk of developing bone cancer in the future.

Treatment

The treatment options for bone cancer determine by the type of disease, stage, overall health, and preferences. Different types of bone cancer respond differently to treatment, and your doctor can advise you on the best course of action for your cancer. For instance, certain types of bone cancer are treated solely with surgery, others through surgery and chemotherapy, and others through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Surgery

The purpose of surgery is to completely remove the malignant tumor. Typically, this entails using specialized procedures to remove the tumor in its entirety, along with a tiny amount of healthy tissue surrounding it. The surgeon replaces the missing bone with bone from another part of your body, material from a bone bank, or metal and hard plastic replacement.

Bone tumors that are big or located in a difficult spot on the bone may necessitate amputation of the entire or a portion of a limb (amputation). Amputation is becoming less prevalent than other treatments. If amputation is necessary, you will almost certainly be fitted with an artificial limb and instructed to do daily duties with your new limb.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy kills cancer cells by administering strong anti-cancer medications through a vein (intravenously). However, this type of treatment is more effective against certain types of bone cancer than others. 

X-ray therapy

Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by delivering high-powered beams of energy, such as X-rays. You lie on a table during radiation therapy as a special machine moves about you and directs energy beams at specific points on your body.

Radiation therapy is frequently performed before surgery to help reduce the tumor and make it easier to remove. This, in turn, can help lessen the likelihood of needing an amputation.

Radiation therapy employs in patients with unresectable bone cancer. Following surgery, radiation therapy performs to eliminate any remaining cancer cells. Radiation therapy may help manage signs and symptoms of advanced bone cancer, such as pain.

Coping and assistance

  • A cancer diagnosis can be quite distressing. With time, you will develop strategies for coping with the distress and uncertainty associated with cancer. Until that time, you may find it beneficial to:
  • Acquire sufficient knowledge about bone cancer to make informed decisions regarding your care. Inquire with your physician about your bone cancer, including treatment choices and, if desired, a prognosis. As you gain knowledge about bone cancer, you may gain confidence in choosing treatment choices.
  • Maintain contact with friends and family. Maintaining strong relationships will assist you in coping with your bone cancer. Friends and relatives can provide the practical assistance you’ll require, such as assisting with housekeeping while you’re in the hospital. Additionally, they can provide emotional support if you are feeling overwhelmed by cancer.
  • Locate a person with whom to converse. Locate an excellent listener who is eager to hear your hopes and anxieties. This individual could be a friend or a family member. Counseling, medical social work, clergy, or a cancer support group may also be beneficial. Inquire with your physician about local support groups. Alternatively, use your telephone directory, public library, or a cancer group such as the National Cancer Institute or the American Cancer Society.

Getting ready for your appointment

If you are concerned about any signs or symptoms, schedule an appointment with your primary physician. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist if he or she feels you may have bone cancer. Bone cancer treats by a multidisciplinary team that may include the following:

  • Orthopedic doctors that specialize in bone cancer surgery (orthopedic oncologists)
  • Specialists in the treatment of cancer using chemotherapy or other systemic drugs (oncologists)
  • Radiation oncologists (radiation oncologists)
  • Doctors who study tissue to determine the type of cancer (pathologists)
  • Rehabilitation specialists that can assist you with your recovery following surgery

Preparation

Because sessions might be brief and there is frequently a lot of material to cover, it is prudent to arrive prepared. 

  • Make certain you are aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you schedule your appointment, be careful to inquire whether you should do anything in advance, such as restrict your food.
  • Make a list of any symptoms you are feeling.
  • Make a list of critical personal facts, including any significant stressors or recent life changes.
  • Maintain a list of all drugs, vitamins, and supplements you are currently taking.
  • Consider bringing up a family member or acquaintance. Occasionally, it might be challenging to recall all of the information offered during a visit. Someone who is with you may recall something you overlooked or forgot.

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