Cancer begins when cells begin to develop aggressively. Cancerous cells can develop in any body area and then spread to other body parts. Bone cancer is a rare kind of cancer that develops when cells in the bone begin to grow abnormally. Primary bone cancers are tumors that begin in the bones. These cancers are rare. Bone cancer begins elsewhere and eventually travels to the bones most of the time. This condition is referred to as cancer or secondary bone malignancy.
How does benign bone tumor occur?
The majority of bone tumors are benign (not cancer). This indicates that benign tumors won’t spread from their initial position to a new one.
Tumors can occur in any of your skeletal system’s bones and any area of the bone. The most often affected bones are the largest: the femur, tibia, humerus, pelvis, spine, and ribs.
Some bone tumors are more frequent in certain areas, such as the spine or near the growth plates in your hip, knee, or shoulder.
Who is at risk for primary bone cancer?
Primary bone cancer may strike anyone at any time, which occurs in the bone. However, several factors might raise your risk. These risk factors and possible causes may include –
- Family history of the disease – There is a family history of genetic illnesses or uncommon cancers. A tiny percentage of bone cancers, usually osteosarcomas, appear to be associated with hereditary diseases (genetic changes that are passed on in families). People with Li-Fraumeni syndrome, for example, may be at a higher risk of developing bone cancer. Children with retinoblastoma, a hereditary form of eye cancer, are also at higher risk. These are, however, unusual situations. Healthcare professionals have yet to identify all genes linked with bone cancer.
- Prior exposure to chemotherapy or radiation treatment – Radiation exposure raises the chance of primary bone cancer. This is especially true for persons treated at a young age or who received a high radiation dosage. It’s uncommon, but exposure to some forms of chemotherapy as a child may be connected to the development of bone cancer later in life.
- Paget’s disease of the bones – This condition primarily affects adults aged 50 and more. It results in the formation of abnormal bone tissue. This results in brittle, dense bones that are weak and more likely to shatter (fracture). Although it can progress to bone cancer (typically osteosarcoma) in a very limited percentage of cases, it is not cancer.
- Having specific types of bone or cartilage tumors – A hereditary disorder that generates skeletal tissue lumps or benign bone or cartilage tumors might raise your risk of bone cancer. Your healthcare professional can inform you if you have any of these illnesses.
- Having a bone marrow transplant – Having a bone marrow transplant has been connected to the development of osteosarcoma (A type of bone cancer) in a few cases.
What are the common indications of bone cancer?
Every person might experience different symptoms depending on the location of the bone cancer. However, the following are some common indications and symptoms of bone cancer:
- pain and swelling in the affected bones
- Hard mass in the limbs’ long bones
- feeling tired or fatigued
A few Less common symptoms may include:
- easily broken or crack bones
- weight loss
How does bone cancer affect overall health & the body?
Primary and secondary bone cancers are frequently characterized by severe pain in the affected bone or joint. Over time, the pain becomes consistent and does not improve with mild pain relievers such as paracetamol. It may be worse at night or after physical exertion.
Apart from pain, primary and secondary bone cancers may cause the following illnesses:
- Bone swelling in the affected area
- bone stiffness or tenderness
- difficulties with mobility, such as an unexplained limp
- sensory loss in the affected limb
- unexplained bone fracture
- Sudden weight reduction which may cause weakness
- Sudden weight reduction which may cause weakness tiredness
- Increased calcium levels in the blood might result in extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, thirst, constipation, or disorientation.
- Back discomfort, muscle and limb weakness, tingling or numbness in the limbs, trouble walking, or loss of bowel or bladder control may result from pressure on the spinal nerves.
- Low blood cell counts can result in fatigue, shortness of breath, an increased risk of infection, and easy bruising and bleeding.
- Not everyone who exhibits these symptoms is diagnosed with bone cancer. Always consult your doctor if you experience these symptoms or are concerned.
How serious or fatal can bone cancer be?
How dangerous bone cancer can depend on the spread of cancer to other parts and organs. An orthopedic cancer doctor may perform a range of tests to detect the stage and spread of cancer. If the cancer is a benign tumor and is not considered life-threatening at its primary stage.
This staging of bone cancer also aids in getting the best possible cancer treatment deepening the severity of cancer and your overall health.
The stage helps describe how far cancer has progressed in the location where it began. It also determines whether or not cancer has spread to other places of your body.
Your cancer might be in one of four stages: 1, 2, 3, or 4. The lower the number, the less spread cancer has been. A higher score indicates a more severe cancer. Ensure to inquire about the cancer stage and what it signifies for you with your cancer specialist.
What are effective treatment options for bone cancer?
Treatment for bone cancer is influenced by the type, location, size, and stage of the disease and the individual’s age and overall health. There are several alternatives available:
- Surgery – This is a common treatment for bone cancer that involves removing the tumor with negative margins (no cancer cells are found at the border of the resected tissue). Recent developments in surgical methods and pre-operative treatments have made it possible to avoid invasive surgical operations such as loss of limbs.
- Chemotherapy – This treatment technique involves chemotherapeutic medications to destroy cancer cells.
- Radiation treatment – Bone cancer treatment uses high-energy X-rays to target cancer cells.
- Cryosurgery – This noninvasive Surgical technique uses liquid nitrogen to freeze cancer cells, killing them.
How long can you expect to survive if you have bone cancer?
Many patients who are diagnosed with bone cancer go on to have effective treatments and lead long lives. Those diagnosed with early-stage bone cancer have a higher chance of making a healthy and complete recovery. Survival chances for bone cancer are lower when it is discovered later in the course of the disease. Cancer that has progressed to an advanced stage is typically considered most difficult to treat. Although, some cancer patients can survive for several months or even years after being diagnosed with advanced malignancy. Palliative care services might be of benefit at this time. You can consult the best orthopedic doctor in Chennai for the best possible after-treatment precautions and healthy outcomes.