Bone Cancer - Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Do you know bone cancer can spread through malignant tumours?
This cancer spreads within the affected area and gradually damages the other organs. Hence, it is crucial to locate the symptoms and start the treatment at the earliest.
Keep reading to learn more about bone cancer and its cure.
What Is Bone Cancer?
Bone cancer is a condition when there is an unusual growth in the bone. This condition destroys the normal bone tissue. If not treated, it can spread to the other parts of the body, known as metastasis.
Ideally, bone cancer is benign which doesn’t spread to other parts of the body. But it can still lead to broken bones or weakness.
Hence, it is important to diagnose early-stage bone cancer and determine the risk factors.
Who Is at Higher Risk of Bone Cancer?
The following may be risk factors for bone cancer -
- Individuals who received radiation treatment or therapies in the past
- One who had multiple tumours in the cartilage
- An individual with a family history of bone cancer
- If an individual has Paget’s disease. This condition leads to the breaking down of bones and abnormal growth.
If you have any of these conditions, you need to consult a doctor. They will help you in bone diagnosing early cancer symptoms and type.
What Are the Types of Bone Cancer?
There are ideally two forms of bone cancer: primary and secondary.
Primary Bone Cancer
Bone Sarcoma or primary bone cancer starts in your bone and gradually spreads to other areas in the body.
The common primary bone cancer types are -
- Ewing's sarcoma- It usually occurs in individuals aged between 5 to 20 years. This cancer commonly occurs in the pelvis, ribs, soft tissue around the bone, legs and upper arm.
- Osteosarcoma- This condition occurs in the upper arm and knees. It is mostly found in adults and teens. However, individuals with Paget's disease can also suffer from osteosarcoma.
- Chondrosarcoma- It occurs mostly in the sites such as shoulder, pelvis, hip, arm and leg. Individuals falling in the age bracket of 40 to 70 years are at higher risk.
Secondary Bone Cancer
Secondary bone cancer usually originates from a different area of the body. For instance, breast cancer gradually spreads to your bones.
Moreover, any cancer that moves from one part of a body to another is called metastatic cancer.
Cancer types that spread to bone include-
- Prostate cancer
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
Now let’s check what the common bone cancer symptoms are.
The Symptoms of Bone Cancer
Irrespective of being cancerous or non-cancerous, it is difficult to notice bone tumour symptoms.
A medical practitioner may check an X-ray report to locate the problem area.
Some symptoms that you can notice are -
- Pain in the bone at night time
- Increased fragility of bone
- Swelling over a bone
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
To proceed with the bone cancer cure, a doctor needs to determine the stages of cancer.
What Are the Stages of Bone Cancer?
There are 4 stages of bone cancer. The higher stage number indicates that cancer has spread to other areas.
Doctors consider stages 3 and 4 as the final stages of bone cancer.
This table explains the conditions for the same
Stages of Bone Cancer
When a tumour is 8 cm or smaller. It is in low grade.
This tumour is larger than 8 cm. There are chances of multiple tumours in different parts of the same bon
A tumour is 8 cm or smaller and of high grade.
This tumour is larger than 8 cm and high grade
The cancer is high grade. There are tumours in different parts of a bone.
It is metastatic bone cancer. Here cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Depending on the stages, a medical practitioner can determine the bone cancer survival rate. They generally try to locate the affected area and the reason behind the spreading of cancer.
What Causes Bone Cancer?
The causes behind bone cancer are still in the research stages. However, doctors associate it with certain factors-
- Radiation therapy for cancer
- Certain changes in the DNA in bone cells can cause them to become cancerous
- Paget's disease of bone
- Inherited genetic syndromes
It would help if you visited a doctor for a bone cancer diagnosis at the earliest. This would reduce the chances of cancer spreading.
Diagnosis of Bone Cancer
Ideally, your doctor would suggest conducting a physical test depending on the symptoms. These tests include -
- MRI scans
- Blood tests to look for enzymes that can indicate blood cancer
- CT scans
- Bone scans
- PET scans
Recommended Treatments for Bone Cancer
If you have a benign tumour, a doctor will recommend medications for bone cancer treatment. They will keep a tab on the changes or growth of a tumour.
However, cancerous tumours need long term treatment. This will depend on the stages of cancer.
Doctors usually recommend treatments like -
- Limb salvage surgery
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
You should know that bone cancer can be cured when diagnosed in the early stages. Hence, it is important to have regular checkups and watch out for symptoms.