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How Many Types of Bone Cancer are there?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Mar 24, 2011
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

Human Bones There are several types of bone cancer which may be classified as follows:

  • Benign (non –cancerous).
  • Malignant which are cancerous.
  • Primary bone cancer, which starts in the bone.
  • Secondary bone cancer, which starts in some other organ in the body and spreads to the bones.

 

Statistically, benign cancers are more common and are not life threatening. Of the types of bone cancer that are malignant, there are three that are most common, - Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma and Ewing’s Sarcoma.

 

Osteosarcoma

 

This is the most common type of bone cancer and is primarily found in the new tissue of growing bones; it affects those in the age group of ten to twenty five years. It appears mostly in the knees, upper legs and upper arms. The initial symptoms are most often pain, swelling, feverishness, fracture of the affected area and/or weight loss.

 

Chondrosarcoma

 

This is a type of bone cancer that affects the cartilage of the bone, and is generally seen in people who are in the age group of fifty to sixty years. The cancer develops in the pelvis, upper legs and shoulders. About 25 percent of primary bone cancers are bone cancers of this type. Diagnosis is based on imaging processes like CT scans where the chondroid matrix can be detected. Such patients in the initial stages are apparently in good health, until a lump appears accompanied by pain.

 

Ewing’s sarcoma

 

This is a type of bone cancer that is found in the nerve tissues of bone marrow. It most often develops in adolescents, around the age of 10 and above, while some may be affected around the age of 25. It attacks the pelvis, upper legs and the ribs. Symptoms that appear early in the course of this disease could be swelling and tenderness in the affected area, fracture, weight loss, fever and anaemia.

 

Other less serious conditions may also have these symptoms, so a doctor has to be consulted early. Diagnosis is done by physical examination, blood tests, scans and by needle biopsy, in which a sample of the bone marrow near the affected area is extracted for microscopic analysis.

 

Metastatic bone cancer

 

When the cancer spreads to surrounding tissue, or metastasizes, it is referred to as metastatic bone cancer. It may spread to other organs in the body such as the breasts, lungs or the prostrate. The cancer cells are the same as those of the original bone cancer cells and the treatment is the same as for bone cancer.

 

Treatment of bone cancer

 

The options are surgery where the affected area is removed – chemotherapy by intravenous treatment using anti cancer drugs; radiotherapy by the use of high energy X-rays to destroy the cancer cells and cryosurgery, which involves the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy the cancer cells.

 

These afflictions occur in people of different ages and affect different parts of the body, as is shown below:

 

Type of bone cancer

Age when it occurs

Affected areas

Treatment

Osteosarcoma

10 -25

New tissues of growing bones in knees upper legs and

Surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, cryosurgery

Chondrosarcoma

50- 65

Cartilage in pelvis. Upper legs and shoulders

Surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, cryosurgery

Ewing’s sarcoma

10-25

Immature nerve tissues in the bone marrow

Surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, cryosurgery

                                                                            

 

 

Read more articles on Understand Bone Cancer

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